Takeshi & Dobbsy sparkle at Crystal Bay

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, July 16, Crystal Bay B & A – Stableford

The Growling Swan was buzzing this Monday morning as our biggest field so far of 28 golfers prepared for the trip down Sukhumvit to the ever popular Crystal Bay Golf Course.  Peter Grey and Andrew Allen were “chomping at the bit” as this was to be their first ever game with an official handicap and their main objective of the day was to avoid winning the now famous Compass Cap.

There were many new faces and a few old faces returning so welcomes were handed out to the following:  Bent Agerbo & Peer Bruun from Denmark; Bob Akapita from Gove, N.T., Australia; Paul (Muncha) Moloney from West Africa/Australia; Paul Blackshaw & Alan Riddell, formerly of Australia but now residing in Pattaya; Adam Rochd from Bangkok; Scott Leszinsky from Canada (USA?) but now residing in Pattaya; and Ken Bernek’s wife Wendy who has now joined her husband in retirement.

Takeshi Hakozaki, Peter Grey & Jerry Dobbs. Takeshi Hakozaki, Peter Grey & Jerry Dobbs.

We were sadly saying farewell to new PSC members Vince Romeo and Tony Alcorn who will shortly be returning to Australia.

Three minivans were required on this occasion and we departed the G.S. a couple of minutes after our scheduled time of 8.30 am and after a 50 minute journey in our van which unfortunately had no air-conditioning (later to be fixed) we arrived at the practically deserted golf course.

There was time for a quick chip & putt for some and then we were invited to commence with B & A nines being the allotted combination.  The sky was blue and there was a gentle breeze as our first group, a three-ball teed off 15 minutes early at 9.45 am and the golf course was looking terrific.  It wasn’t too hot and we weren’t really held up by the Thai group in front as we completed the front nine (B) in just over two hours.

We were an all Aussie three-ball and fairly fierce competitors which managed to bring out some good golf on occasions and we all managed to join the “Birdie Club” with Mike “Hunter” Gosden being the last of us to become a member.

With a fairly brief drink stop before the A4 tee we proceeded and finished the full round in four hours & seven minutes.  I had read reports that this golf course was not up to its usual high standard but I have to report that on this day it was in excellent shape with lush fairways and beautifully prepared greens.  It will certainly remain on our monthly schedule as it has for about a year now.

We had 4 golfers playing without official handicaps so once more the Callaway scoring system was used for them and they were allocated a grade of their own.  In addition there were 2 grades with A Grade for handicaps of 0 to 18 and B Grade for handicaps of 19 and over.  We had rewards for nearest the pins on all the par threes, one of them kindly sponsored by Mike Gosden and also prizes for longest first putts on A9 & B9.

Playing on his ‘home course’, Takeshi Hakozaki once again took out first place in A Grade with a fine 41 points, 3 points ahead of yours truly in second place.  In a count back for third & fourth spots with 2 golfers on 37 points, Bob Akapita (21 points on B9) finished just ahead of Mike Gosden (20 points on B9).

In B Grade last start Compass Cap winner Jerry Dobbs went from boiled lollies to chocolates and won with 35 points and Graham Buckingham finished second with 32 points.  In another count back for third & fourth spots with both on 31 points, Bernie McCart (18 points on B9) just pipped Max Bracegirdle (14 points on B9).

A Flight (0-18)

1st Takeshi Hakozaki (12) 41pts

2nd Peter Blackburn (12) 38pts

3rd Bob Akapita (17) 37pts

4th Mike Gosden (11) 37pts

B Flight (19+)

1st Jerry Dobbs (23) 35pts

2nd Graham Buckingham (23) 32pts

3rd Bernie McCart (31) 31pts

4th Max Bracegirdle (24) 31pts

Callaway Flight

1st Paul Moloney 36pts

2nd Vince Romeo 31pts

Near Pins:  A5– Max Bracegirdle; A8 –Takeshi Hakozaki; B4 – Paul Moloney; B6 – Martin Todd

Long Putts:  A9 – Wendy Bernek; B9 – Mike Gosden

As mentioned earlier Peter Grey was determined not to win the Compass Cap (awarded for the worst score of the day) at his very first attempt but alas, despite his beloved Sydney Swans having a great win a day earlier he was unable to emulate their feat and took out the award in grand style.  Hunter had returned from his trip up country and paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.  Many thanks to Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek who looked after & fed Deefa in Hunter’s absence and rumour has it Deefa was more than comfortable in his own bed overlooking Pattaya Beach.

Back at The Growling Swan afterwards many of us stayed for several hours and mine host Peter Grey, being the good sport that he is wore the Compass Cap well into the evening and I’m quite sure he enjoyed every minute of it. The beer was “Aussie cold” and there was plenty of it & it was great to catch up with Bent Agerbo again who continued to sing the praises of our new Golfing Outlet.

Thursday, July 19, Burapha, A & B – Stableford

We were just one short of a full field of 24 for The Growling Swan’s first ever outing to the classy Burapha Golf Course and I for one was very much looking forward to the experience having not played there for about four years.

Graham Buckingham, Peter Blackburn & Fred Land. Graham Buckingham, Peter Blackburn & Fred Land.

Before departure we welcomed newcomer Fred Land from Portsmouth, England and good to see Tom Parry of Pattaya join us again.  It was sadly time to once more wish Aussie Bob Akapita a fond farewell with the knowledge that it will only be a few weeks before he is back with us again.

With the assistance of several car owners we were able to make do with just one minivan and we headed off right on time at 8.30 am & arrived at Burapha just 30 minutes later.  There seemed to be a fair amount of activity although as soon as we were ready we were told that we could commence, playing the A nine first & sensibly we sent our only three-ball off first at 9.30 am which was 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

We  trusted Walter & Mashi with the job of “planting” the nearest the pin & longest first putt markers.  Dear Walter unfortunately omitted to place the marker for the longest first putt on A9 but Toddy in our second group came to the rescue and used half of his scorecard to “do the business”.

After driving through a few drops of rain on the way to the course the skies were overcast but we had no need to worry as although it was humid with not much wind the weather was perfect for golf.  The golf course was superb in all aspects with lush fairways and perfect greens which were mostly very slick and only too ready to trap anyone who did not correctly judge the borrow and pace.  It was certainly “millionaire’s golf” on this wonderful layout and there were no holdups all day with the full round being completed in three hours & fifty five minutes.  A thoroughly enjoyable round of golf and we most certainly will be back next month.

With the good field we were able to have 2 grades with A Grade for handicaps of 0 to 17 and B Grade for handicaps of 18 and over.  We had rewards for nearest the pins on all the par threes, with three of them kindly sponsored by Walter Baechli and also prizes for longest first putts on A9 & B9 kindly donated by Martin Todd.

Fred Land, playing with us for the first time, took an obvious liking to the course and won the A Grade with a terrific 44 points; 5 points clear of Paul Avery who had a welcome return to form and finished in second place.  On 36 points came Ken “let’s hear it for” Bernek in third spot with the consistent Bob Akapita fourth 1 point further back.

The winner of B Grade was Graham Buckingham (16 point back nine, 9 points on last 6 holes & 6 points on last 3 holes) with 35 points on a count back from Walter Baechli (16 point back nine, 9 points on last 6 holes & 4 points on last 3 holes).  Another count back with both golfers on 34 points saw Bent Agerbo (18 point back nine) finish third ahead of Tom Cotton (16 point back nine) in fourth place.

A Flight (0-17)

1st Fred Land (12) 44pts

2nd Paul Avery (11) 39pts

3rd Ken Bernek (16) 36pts

4th Bob Akapita (17) 35pts

B Flight (18+)

1st Graham Buckingham (23) 35pts

2nd Walter Baechli (18) 35pts

3rd Bent Agerbo (19) 34pts

4th Tom Cotton (20) 34pts

Near Pins:  A3– Mashi Kaneta; A6 –Fred Land; B3 – Max Bracegirdle; B8 – Martin Todd

Long Putts:  A9 – Mike Gosden; B9 – Ken Bernek

The winner of the Compass Cap (awarded to the player with the worst score on the day) was Big Ken Bernek’s wife Wendy who took the award in good spirit & humour.  Hunter paraded Deefa the Dog who of course collected many donations to charity from our very generous Growling Swan crew.  It was then back to The Growling Swan where many of us conducted post mortems on our games whilst enjoying the cold beers in an extremely friendly and humorous environment.

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 080 635 1386 or email to [email protected]