Wanta & Max sparkle at Crystal Bay

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PSC Golf from The Growling Swan

Monday, March 18, Crystal Bay A & B – Stableford

Once more an early tee time meant an earlier than usual departure time and all but one of the original 26 players signed up made it on time.  As we assembled at the Growling Swan before the journey to Crystal Bay we were happy to welcome back Bob Akapita, this time for 2 weeks R & R from his work at Gove in the Northern Territory of Australia, and his good mate and fellow Aussie Rod Cockle, who now spends most of his time in Northern Thailand.

We got away right on time at 8.00 am and headed north on Sukhumvit through the Monday morning traffic encountering the usual traffic light delays departing Pattaya and in Sriracha but managed to arrive at the golf course 50 minutes later.  Without too much early activity the course was not busy and as we were allocated the A & B nines we sent our first four-ball away 5 minutes behind schedule at 9.25 am with the groups in front of us at least 2 holes ahead.

Max Bracegirdle & Wanta.Max Bracegirdle & Wanta.

The golf course was in great shape as usual with the greens immaculate; in fact they would have to be amongst the best around.  The weather was perfect although quite hot but thanks to a breeze that was at times fairly strong conditions were very pleasant.  After getting through the A nine without any delays we did slow down a bit on the B nine as the weather hotted up which resulted in us completing the round in four hours & twenty five minutes.

We were able to have 2 grades with five podium spots in each. A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 18 and B Grade for 19 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.

Wanta was the winner in A Grade with a fine 40 points and with 2 golfers on 36 points a count back was needed which resulted in Martin Todd (21 point back nine) taking second spot from your writer, Peter Blackburn (18 point back nine) in third place.  Another count back was required to separate the 2 golfers on 35 points and it was Anna (18 point back nine) who finished fourth ahead of Marco Beer (17 point back nine) in fifth place.

In a welcome return to form it was Max “Corsets” Bracegirdle who had an excellent 41 points to easily win the B Grade by 10 points from Geri Crilly.  With 3 players on 30 points the count back resulted in Colin Farady (19 point back nine) finishing third from Frank “Toy Story” Donnelly (16 point back nine) in fourth place and JC Lhoste (14 point back nine) completing the podium.

A Flight (0-18)

1st Wanta (12) 40pts

2nd Martin Todd (9) 36pts

3rd Peter Blackburn (11) 36pts

4th Anna (12) 35pts

5th Marco Beer (17) 35pts

B Flight (19+)

1st Max Bracegirdle (27) 41pts

2nd Geri Crilly (27) 31pts

3rd Colin Faraday (19) 30pts

4th Frank Donnelly (23) 30pts

5th JC Lhoste (23) 30pts

Near Pins:  A5 – Kae, A8 – Marco Beer, B4 – Wanta, B6 – Wanta

Long Putts:  A9 – Dave Neal, B9 – Mike Gosden

The Growling Swan NAGA Award, (awarded to the golfer who has the worst score on the day and discreetly their score is not made public) was narrowly won on a count back by Wendy Bernek from the much relieved Dick “Reverend” Braimbridge.  Martin Todd took Deefa for the usual walk and collected many donations for the needy in Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan golfers.

Niall Stuart, JC Lhoste & Ebrahim.Niall Stuart, JC Lhoste & Ebrahim.

Back at the Growling Swan there was a very good crowd and the usual hard luck stories but mostly celebrating another great golf day on a first class golf course amongst excellent company.

Thursday, March 21, The Emerald – Stableford

Our record attendance to date was 34 and when we had 40 golfers signed up it appeared that that previous figure would be “smashed”.  Even after there were 3 late withdrawals we were still left with a new Growling Swan record of 37 for the day and four mini vans were required to ferry them to the course.

As we met at the bar beforehand we welcomed Karl Baecker from Germany, Bill McGarvie from Canada, Chris Woods & Gary O’Laughlin from Brisbane, Andrew Allen returning from a couple of weeks in Melbourne and veteran Ted Morris joining us once again.  It was sadly time to say farewell to another veteran, Don Richardson who will shortly be returning to Ireland and Chris, Gary & Mick who are off back to Australia.

The Emerald was the designated course for the day and we headed off South, departing the GS right on schedule at 8.30 am.  The traffic was moving well down Sukhumvit and after the usual “crawl” through Bang Chang we arrived at the golf course after a 45 minute journey to find a fair bit of activity but no major delays anticipated.

Our Tee Time was 10.00 am and our first group, a three-ball, got away right on time but with a few “not so quick” groups directly ahead we settled in for a leisurely round of golf on a day that was shaping up to be a “hot one”.  The course was in very good shape and although some of the greens did not look too attractive they were in the main firm and true.

After two hours & five minutes we had a half-way break whilst waiting to tee off at number ten and then continued our round in fairly hot & sticky conditions.  We had the help of ample liquid refreshments and although the pace did slow somewhat we completed the round in four hours & twenty five minutes.  Some of us found the course challenging but others had no trouble recording good scores and we look forward to returning soon.

We were able to have 2 grades with six podium spots in each.  A Grade was for handicaps 0 to 22 and B Grade for 23 and over.  We had nearest the pins on all the par threes and longest first putts on the 9th & 18th greens.

The popular Ebrahim was the winner in A Grade with a fine 40 points, with Mike “Hunter” Gosden in second place one point further back.  The 2 Thai ladies came third & fourth with Suparp “Anna” Korboon on 38 points and Wanta Dacha on 37 points, with Jayson Schembri fifth on 36.  There were 3 players on 33 points vying for sixth spot and the count back saw Bill McGarvie (17 point back nine) just beating Martin Todd (16 point back nine) and your writer, Peter Blackburn (15 point back nine).

With 2 golfers on 41 points, a count back saw JC Lhoste (24 point back nine) winning the B Grade from in-form Duangjai “Kae” Tusagad (19 point back nine), with Andrew “Turtle” Allen having his best ever score of 40 points and finishing third.  Another count back was required to sort out fourth & fifth and it was Irishman Geri Crilly (23 point back nine) who prevailed over Graham “Grunter” Buckingham (16 point back nine) with Russell Calcutt having his first ever podium finish with 34 points to finish sixth.

A Flight (0-22)

1st Ebrahim (17) 41pts

2nd Mike Gosden (13) 40pts

3rd Anna (12) 38pts

4th Wanta (12) 37pts

5th Jayson Schembri (18) 36pts

6th Bill McGarvie (9) 33pts

B Flight (23+)

1st JC Lhoste (23) 41pts

2nd Duangjai Tusagad (24) 41pts

3rd Andrew Allen (36) 40pts

4th Geri Crilly (27) 35pts

5th Graham Buckingham (25) 35pts

6th Russell Calcutt (36) 34pts

Near Pins:  7th – Ted Morris, 13th – Ebrahim, 15th – Mike Gosden

Long Putts:  9th – Alain Taddei, 18th – Duangjai Tusagad

The Growling Swan NAGA Award was narrowly won on a count back by Niall Stuart, who of course accepted the cap in fine style.  Martin Todd took Deefa for the usual walk and collected many donations for the needy in Pattaya from our ever generous Growling Swan golfers.

It had been yet another terrific day’s golf on a challenging (for some) golf course and a load of fun for all.

Note:  Growling Swan Golf welcomes players 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 a.m. with transport departing at 8.30 a.m.  For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to petermalcolmblackburn @gmail.com,