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PGS Press Archives

 

Here we have all the press reports for the current year. Click on a month to navigate and read the reports.

January   February   March  April  May   June  July August  September   October   November   December

January

Paul Smith Roars Around Pattavia

The one thing that golfers almost always say about Pattavia Century is that the course is in good to excellent condition. Bearing in mind there has not been much rain around, the ground staff have kept up the standard and, even though the rough is browning, the fairways are green and nice to play from. The greens now are much tamer than recent times but still present a challenge on the downhill putt, as many who three putted found out.

After two no-shows, who indicated they would get to the course themselves, but didn’t, a quick rearrangement of groups was done and thirty golfers set off in much the same weather as per the past week or so. Rick Pope wore the Green Jacket with a good win on Xmas Day and carried that form into today with 36 points to win the ‘B’ flight, but had to survive a countback over Niall Caven who has found some form again. Third place went to Derek Phillips with his score of 34 points, winning a three-way countback.

When you have a low, single figure handicap, as Paul Smith does, you can’t afford many mistakes. Paul’s gross score of 71 suggests that he made few, if any today. That equated to 41 stableford points and the win fine in ‘A’ flight. Phil Davies has been back in form the past few games and has done well again to score 37 points to take second spot. Peter Lacey played his first game at Links at the start of December and has played so well that his handicap has gone from 16 to 14 in that short time. He was there again today with a good score of 36 points, winning third place on countback.
 
Near Pins: Mike Firkin (4), Lachlan Gotz (7), Jim Ferris (13), David Dunne (17).
Best Front Nine (non winners) – Kevin LaBar - 18 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) – Bill Copeland - 20 pts.

At presentations, Phil regaled those present with the story of ‘Jam Boy” from the time of the British Raj in India. This was due to Rana Gurnam telling stories on the tee boxes during the round. He was in line for the ‘silly hat’ but Phil decided that there would be no ‘silly hat’ or ‘wig’ today, new year and all that.

Paul Smith didn’t return to Links to wear the Green Jacket.  We paid public holiday price today, but it is still a mystery as to why. Do the courses pay penalty rates to staff?

Welsh Triple Crown at Khao Kheow

The first week of 2020 ended with a PLGS flourish at Khao Kheow when 53 golfers played a stableford competition on the A and B nines, in three flights divided at fourteen, 19 and above. Khao Kheow was/is in excellent condition with fairways dry enough to give a lot of run and the greens were the best many old hands could remember. In a word they were magnificent. Consistent and quick, all the golfer needed to do was set the ball rolling on the chosen line. We've not seen greens like that for many a long day.

A strong wind made the golf challenging and scores were typical of Khao Kheow, not excessive and thoroughly well-earned.

In a rare golfing moment the results saw a trio of worthy Celts (thanks "spell check") tie down the top flight places. In the top flight Phil Davies took first place with 36 points, heading Americans Peter Lacey (34 cb) and Aaron Spengler (34).

In the third flight Len Jones took the flight with 37 points, ahead of Helene Lindberg (33) and the other half of the Swedish pair, husband Mikael with 31 points .

The second flight had the best score of the day, 39 points and the Gallic trio was complete when Colin Smith returned his green jacket winning card. In second place was Shabir Hussein (36), impressing in his first week with the group and another Welshman, Willy Brown took third with 34 points.

Near-pins were won by Bill Copeland, Peter Lacey (2), Stuart Thompson, Tony Leng, Dave Arataki, Jamie Booterbaugh and Mikael Lindberg who came within three inches of his second "ace" on the short A5. His relief was obvious when he realised, with 53 golfers out, it would have cost him an arm and a leg had the ball rolled in!

Consolation awards went to Mark Johnstone for his best front nine score of 19 points, and to Dave Robinson for his identical effort on the back nine. In addition Jamie Booterbaugh received the "silly hat" for a nine hole total of six points whilst Dave Rodrigues, wore the wig which Mr Phil suggested, certainly made him a "hansum man". His low score certainly didn't!

2020 had started in memorable fashion and in the words of the three winners today PLGS wishes everyone "Blwyddyn Newydd Dda"!

Anne Stoke’s Green Jacket in First Up Game

The current dry season and lack of rain must make it difficult for greenkeepers to maintain a golf course, but the courses we have played in recent weeks are being kept in terrific condition for our pleasure. I had not been to Pleasant Valley for some time and was pleasantly (excuse the pun) surprised at how good the course looked and played, with nice grass on the fairways and greens running smoothly and with good pace, well done. Once again, we had a big group of 45 players arrive at this course complete with green fee and cart vouchers and ready to go.

A nice, comfortable, breezy day, but a tough course, saw only five scores of handicap or better. The ‘A’ flight had three players scoring 35 points so the countback was required.
Dave Robinson finally broke through for his first win to hold out newcomer to Links, Jean-Pierre Gasser, and Jamie Booterbaugh, who was much happier today after a disaster round a couple of days ago.

In an unusual event for Links, so far, two lady golfers took the first places in two of the flights. Helene Lindberg, a recent winner of two Green Jackets, took out ‘C’ flight with a modest score of 32 points. Stu Thompson has moved back to Aus. after 15 years, but will still visit regularly. He scored a handy 31 points for second spot while Richie McIntosh, who lost his scorecard on Friday but managed to hold on to it today, came in third with 30 points.

The ‘B’ flight produced all five of the top scores with none better than Anne Stokes who was playing her first game this trip. Her 39 points gave her the win and the Green Jacket, the third time in a couple of weeks for the ladies. A four-way tie on 36 points had to go to countback where Thorsten Jodehl took second and sent Billy Buchanan to third place.
Unfortunately for Stuart Kidd and Will Brown they missed out on a place. Stuart did have some consolation by winning Best Front Nine.

Plenty of near pins and a long putt up for grabs.  Near Pin ‘A’ flight: Billy Buchanan (x2), Anne Stokes, Bob Stokes. Near Pin ‘B’ flight: Mikael Lindberg, Thorsten Jodehl, Rick Pope, Larry Slattery. Long First Putt: Mike Firkin.
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. Stuart Kidd….20 pts.
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Keith Griffith ….21 pts.

After a lowly score and words of encouragement from Phil, Gordon Laviolette wore the ‘wig’. In the absence of anyone doing something too silly, it was decided that Rick Pope should wear the ‘silly hat’ for handing in a very low nine-hole score. With ladies winning the Green Jacket a lot lately, Phil is thinking that we may need to make a Pink Jacket, fairly soon.

Jacket for Jepson but Ace for Lawlor

A golf day at Green Valley is always a pleasant occasion. The course is generally in fine condition, a cooling breeze is always present and the challenge of the holes makes for a tight competition. Wednesday, 8th January was no different as the Pattaya Links Golf Society visited with 34 golfers to play a stableford competition in two flights, divided at fourteen and under.

Staring well before the allotted time good progress was made and the top flight saw Green Valley member Barry Wellings use all his local knowledge to take the win with 38 points, closely followed by Paul Durkan (37), with Mike Ehlert (35) taking third ahead of John Doyle on countback.

The second flight was more spectacular with Englishman Kenny Jepson taking his fourth green jacket, albeit on countback with 40 points, relegating Irish golfer Colm Lawlor into second (40 points). Colm however was not too "miffed" as he achieved his first ever hole-in-one on the short par three eighth. Never has he struck a more telling pitching wedge. Third place went to Colm O'Donovan with 38 points whilst a level par 36 points gave Larry Slattery fourth place. Irish Eyes were smiling as three golfers from the Emerald Isle had found their places on the flight podium.

Technical awards went to Dave Robinson, Lachlan Gotz, Tony Leng and Paul Smith for their near-pins and the consolation awards went to Maurice Roberts for his best front nine of 20 points and Wayne Peppernell's nineteen points on the back nine. Mr Phil used his executive powers to deflect the "silly hat" from himself to the departing Estonian golfer Sergei Kronbergs whilst Gordon Laviolette's travails continued with another wig presentation.

The day ended with Colm ringing the bell in time honoured fashion, not once but twice! That's what it means to score a debut hole-in-one!

Frustrating Day at Eastern Star

Course Heavily Over Booked

Is it a money grabbing exercise or mismanagement, or both? Eastern Star was obviously way overbooked on this Friday and whoever allowed it or authorised it had no thought for player/customer comfort. The first sign was, when our third bus pulled up at 9.50 am, golf bags were standing up by the wall with not a caddie in sight. In the mustering area a very pro-active lady marshal informed us that, as caddies finished on the eighteenth, she would send them to each of our groups in turn.

We were sent to the tenth tee and with that same lady marshal and Maurice ferrying players and caddies to the tee, we got everyone away.

As I turned toward the clubhouse there were crowds of people overflowing inside and outside obviously waiting to play. As many groups of Korean golfers went to the tees our groups were coming through and were dovetailed in between the Koreans. I watched as one Korean lady golfer stood on the tenth tee having practice swings while waiting for the fairway to clear, only to be moved from the tee three times to allow our groups crossing over. Good for us, but can only imagine how frustrating for the lady. She and her group did get started eventually when one of our groups was a bit slow and left a gap.

This course is never known to allow big scores and today from our 51 players, only four played to handicap or better.

The ‘C’ flight produced two of the top scores, 40 points, and had to go to a countback to decide the winner of the Green Jacket. Unfortunately, only one can win and it was Martin Patch, in his first game for a long time, holding out against a great game from Mr. Consistent, Stuart Kidd. Thorsten Jodehl has not replicated his 49 points from a couple weeks ago but did score 33 points to take third place.

“B’ flight also went to countback with two scores of 37 points where Maurice Roberts just nudged Anne Stokes from top spot. Billy Buchanan is fairly steady and made 34 points for third place. On the day, “A’ flight was somewhat of a lack luster affair where the winning score was just 34 points, which gave Bob Stokes the win in that flight, but a win is a win, Bob. Another countback, this time for second and third, gave newcomer to Links, Vic Hansen, a narrow win over that top golfer, Paul Smith, both scoring 32 points.

Plenty of novelty prizes out there and all were claimed.
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. Ahmed Tavir….17 pts
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. David DeCaminada ….18 pts

Gordon Laviolette completed the hat trick of ‘wigs’ by once again having the low score.  Will Brown was called to the tee and wandered over minus clubs, caddie or cart. The lady marshal ferried him back to get his gear. That should have got the ‘silly hat’, but Phil decided that there was too much going on, so instead, Pierre Cere got it for his 7 points on the front nine.

We understand that the ‘high season’ may not last long and course management want to ‘make hay while the sun shines’ We wonder if frustrating a couple of hundred people a day outweighs the cash. One last word: There was one lady marshal who worked tirelessly in helping get our groups set with caddies while, it seemed, many of her colleagues stood around without much interest or seemed overawed by the numbers, or standing around chatting.

This lady worked under much duress, which she should not have been put under. I’m sorry I didn’t get your name as we were so busy, but a big Thank You for your work with us.

Derek’s ‘Poor Game’ Wins Green Jacket

What a contrast from another golf course we visited two days ago, when there was over crowding and some confusion, to the peaceful and picturesque surroundings of Treasure Hill. Today we had 56 players ready to hit the fairways and the organizing and starting of the fourteen groups was easy and seamless, a credit to the players and, of course, our organiser this day, Maurice. The first group got away slightly early and, with no hold-ups in front, completed the round in good time. It’s been said plenty of times before about how difficult it is to score on this course. Once again Treasure Hill won as none of our large number of players could play to handicap.

Derek Phillips came closest, playing in the ‘B’ flight, by scoring 35 points for the win, and another Green Jacket for him. When he handed in his card, he commented that his round wasn’t good enough for any prizes. Mmm, we never know, Derek. John Malet de Carteret, having his first game this trip, just tipped out Banjo Bannister on countback for second spot, both having 32 points. Helene Lindberg filled the fourth place with 29 points.

Another returnee, Phillip Ashton, had a first up win by taking the ‘A’ flight honours with 34 points to win a countback over Anne Stokes, who was once again in the action. Rana Gurnam found some form again to score 32 points and the other half of the Stokes family, Bob, grabbed the fourth place with 31 points.

You didn’t need very many points to win ‘C’ flight as Berndt Motzenbacher found out when his 32 points was enough to win. John Anderson only scored 31 points but the resulting countback with Keith Melbourne gave him second spot. Rob Cousin, again a first game this trip, rounded out the podium with 29 points.
 
Near pins ‘A’ flight: Phillip Ashton, Pierre Cere (x2), Anne Stokes
Near pins ‘B’ flight: Mike Firkin, Simon Watts, Bill Stewart, Rob Cousin
Long First Putt: George Mueller
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. John Masters….18 pts
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Mike Tottenham ….17 pts

Bill Stewart was already moving to front of stage as Phil was announcing the ‘silly hat’, believing no-one could have less than four points for nine holes. Adam Barton can play golf but spends a lot of time away at work, hence not playing much. He wore the ‘wig’ for the lowest score.

Treasure Hill was looking in great condition, but it turned out to be an inspired decision to play lift, clean and place when, considering the dry weather, there were actually lots of wet areas on the fairways. However, the unusual slowness of the greens, for TH, caught out more than a few to make the course a little tougher than expected.

We will return in two weeks to try, try, again.

Durkan Wins at Green Valley

The Pattaya Links Golf Society revisited Green Valley on Wednesday, 15th January with forty-three golfers getting the nod from the starter to begin twenty minutes earlier than booked. What a difference this makes with large numbers champing at the bit to take on a tough golf course. Green Valley was certainly up for it with fairways giving plenty of run, bunkers well-tended and greens consistent and quick. The day started fine but, as so often happens here, slowly the cloud cover increased and the final few holes were played in overcast and humid conditions.

Three flights were cut at thirteen, seventeen and eighteen and above and the scores mirrored the toughness of the day. In the third flight Richie McIntosh made a rare podium appearance with his 29 points taking the place on countback. The top two golfers were subjected to countback and Dave Rodrigues' 31 points was adjudged second to Ray Clarke's better back nine.

Second flight scores fared better with third place going to "The Count", John Malet de Carteret with 31 points. Second place went to Bill Buchanan with 33 points whilst Wayne Peppernell managed a welcome first place again, after a long hiatus, with 34 points.

The top flight saw better scores as Rana Gurnam took third with 35 points, two behind Barry Welling (37) and that left Paul Durkan to take his first green jacket with 38 well crafted points.

Near pins went to Bill Buchanan, Shabir Hussein, Adam Barton, Phil Mitchell, Dave Rodrigues, Simon Watts and John Malet de Carteret. Consolation awards went to Dave de Caminada for his splendid 23 points on the front nine and Mike Ehlert's fine level par effort on the back nine.

Mr Phil decided to award the "silly hat" to his old mate Rana Gurnam for losing his place on the tee when he decided to disappear to the driving range, knowing he was in the second group and completely unaware that often starters promote groups when the tee is empty. In short, in High Season, if you want to practice, get to the course very much before time. The wig went to Simon Watts for his lacklustre round and he received the usual words of encouragement from Mr Phil, in order to avoid a repeat.

The general verdict afterwards was that the course was in excellent condition and is well worth the visit, even in high season as the Asian golfers do not seem to be there in numbers such as a few years ago.

Helene Out Guns the other 55 Players

We do things a bit differently at Links Golf. Due to having large numbers of players and, therefore many groups, we conduct a draw for each group’s place in the line-up. This enables a level playing field, is very transparent, and adds plenty of fun before we leave in the morning as cheers, claps and moans ring out with each ball drawn. Ball number 14 went missing some time ago so the dilemma today was that we had 15 groups. Phil worked around that, the draw took place, and we loaded into five mini buses and some cars for the trip to Khao Kheow.

Last Monday this course experienced a solid rain shower and lots of wind, so the brown tinge on the fairways, as reported at our last visit, has now returned to a good covering of greenness. The newly renovated tee boxes are good and the greens are running at pace and truly, as always here. Mind you, there were some wicked pin placements to test us.

Playing to handicap or better seems to have been a struggle recently, but today seven of our 56 starters did manage to hold their heads up.

Helene Lindberg is having a great run this trip and once again topped the scoring for the day with a big 41 points to claim the win in ‘B’ flight and her third Green Jacket in just a few weeks. Tony Browne had a big turn around from his recent games and came in second to Helene with a very credible 39 points. Stuart Kidd was again in the mix with his score of 37 points, then a big gap to fourth placed Thorsten Jodehl on 31 points.

George Mueller and Peter Lacey fought it out for first in ‘A’ flight with both having made 38 points. George won the countback to grab the win, ending a minor drought for him. Colin Smith was steady all day and came in with 34 points for third and Tanvir Ahmed won a countback to get fourth spot with 32 points.

This is not Treasure Hill but TH ‘specialist’ (so called), John Anderson, finally got a win at Khao Kheow by scoring 36 points and win a countback against a new, to us, lady golfer, Nicole Gerwenberg. Keith Melbourne gets another mention on the leader board with his very good 35 points while fourth place went to Nigel Harrison with 33 points.

Eight near pins and a long first putt were additional chances to win, along with the best nines. Near Pins ‘A’ flight, Stuart Kidd (x2), George Mueller, Mike Ehlert. Near Pins ‘B’ flight, Masa Sugaya, Simon Watts, Henry Mah, John Masters.
Longest First Putt (on hole 18)  Stu Thompson
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. Gordon Laviolette….18 pts c/back
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Martin Patch ….17 pts c/back

Phil is a pretty good story teller and had another tale to tell, this time starring Tanvir Ahmed, before presenting him with the ‘silly hat’, and just because he is Rana’s mate. Barry Wilson came out for his second game with us and got into the photo right off by having the lowest score and wearing his first ‘wig’.

An excellent high season price and a top-class golf course in good condition will see us return again in about two weeks and plenty of players will be happy with that.

The Count Lords it at Riverside...Just!

At this time of year the course at Bangpakong Riverside is a joy to play. Always well prepared, the fairways are well grassed and the greens are excellent, running at pace. In addition there is generally a refreshing breeze evident on the banks of the Bangpakong River. This was the scenario for the latest large PLGS group which visited on Monday 20th January.

The forty-nine golfers were divided into three flights (0-14, 15-19 and twenty plus) and got underway on time ushered by a fastidious starter.

The course has a name for good scores and today almost 1,600 stableford points would be amassed by the golfers. In the third flight Niall Caven returned to the podium with a third placed 38 points, leaving John Masters and Simon Watts to share the lead with 40 points, which John Masters won on countback.

In the top flight Rana Gurnam, still smarting from his "silly hat" award last week, returned 38 points for third place with Belgium's Patrick Engels pipping him for second on countback. The winner of the top flight was Mike Ehlert whose round was full of skill and accuracy as he returned 42 points for a splendid victory.

The second flight saw some of the highlights of the day with Colm Lawlor taking third with 36 points. A country mile ahead were Bill Buchanan and "The Count", John Malet de Carteret with 43 points each. John's back nine proved better than Scotsman Bill's and so he took the green jacket with a broad smile at the presentation.

Technical awards went to Darren Beavers, Henry Mah, Ray Clarke, Ahmad Tanvir, Steve Moxey and Bill Buchanan (two) with near-pins and Patrick Engels (longest first putt on the eighteenth).

Of the many candidates for the "silly hat" Mr Phil made special mention of Niall Caven's efforts on the first hole where a poor drive left him more than 300 yards from the green. Despite his faith in his swing he resisted all attempts and abuse from the tee behind him to play. When he did commit himself he was still woefully short and rightly deserved the award for holding up a large field up for five minutes or more, unnecessarily. The wig was less complicated with a thoroughly deserved award made to Carl Lovatt for his low score of the day.

An excellent golf day ended with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Mr Maurice and the cake, as well as the golf, was very tasty indeed.

 

The Count Raking in Green Jackets

As our bus turned into the golf course we wondered if there would be enough (or any) caddies for our 52 golfers, recalling a report from another Society a week before. There was indeed another large group at the course but they were sent to the tenth tee, leaving the first tee open for Links Golf.

The round got under way a few minutes early and every group made good time with, surprisingly, no hold-ups, considering the numbers on the course.
Weather was fine and warm to hot with the occasional breeze for comfort.

The fairways were, as usual, in very good condition with plenty of grass and a nice green colour. The rough has been allowed to dry by using the water on the fairways and greens. These greens are starting to speed up again and there were many sad stories of three and four putts. If you can tame the greens you will score well, as four players who all had great scores can attest.

It’s just not fair when you score 42 points, only to be beaten on a countback for the Green Jacket, but that’s what happened to Colin Smith today. A great effort and a win in ‘A’ flight. Paul Gill and Patrick Engels both scored 35 points and went to countback for second and third with Paul getting the nod. Mike Ehlert is back in form and held fourth spot with 34 points.

John Malet De Carteret (The Count) carried over his form from Monday by pipping Colin for his two-in-a-row Green Jackets and the win in ‘B’ flight.
Soren Hansen, having his first game with us since his return to LOS, did well to score 39 points to take second place. After a disaster last week, Larry Slattery showed what he can do to grab third spot with 37 points and Colm Lawlor survived a countback on 35 points for fourth.

Rick Pope went missing for a couple of weeks but came back fresh to score 41 points and the ‘C’ flight win. Again, an excellent score but can’t get the Green Jacket. We called Bryan Barrel a surprise packet a couple of weeks ago but he is not a surprise any more after making second place with 35 points.  Another countback, this time John Masters took third ahead of Mike Firkin which left Kenny Jepson missing out. All three had 33 points.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Derek Phillips, Bob Stokes, Paul Durkan
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Rick Pope, Bill Stewart, Garry Hookey, Colm Lawlor
Longest First Putt: Mike Ehlert.
Best Front Nine (non winners) …. Mike Kaps….19 pts c/back
Best Back Nine (non winners) …. Dave Arataki ….20 pts c/back

The ‘silly hat’ award went to a different type of countback. There were too many silly things, e.g. Four players who tried to get on a bus going to the Water Park before being told. Another who wanted the bus turned back as he had left his change of clothes bag at the bar, and yet one more who put his name on an ‘A’ flight near pin when his handicap is 27. It was now out of who drew the ‘short straw’ (or actually broken tooth picks). John Pearce (name on wrong pin) was the lucky winner of the ‘silly hat’ The ‘wig’ prize was much easier, won by newbie, Kevin Roberts, for his very low score.

It’s high season and we must expect crowds, but apart from a long line waiting to pay green fees, Pattavia managed things well and we were able to get started slightly early, satisfied customers.

Jon Dean’s Triumphant Return

Oh, oh, not again?  There were not enough caddies available for us when we reached Treasure Hill, but the caddie manager funneled caddies to each group in turn as the caddies arrived at the course, sound familiar? But this was not a course overbooked, far from it. Many caddies were at the Temple “to pay respect for Chinese New Year” (my Caddy’s words) and had not yet returned. However, the end result was that each of our thirteen groups got away without delay, and all with caddies.

We started slightly before scheduled time and for the first couple of hours the weather was hot and sticky but by the early afternoon some cloud cover and a welcome breeze had arrived.  The course was still in the same condition as we had two weeks prior and the newly renovated tee boxes are looking good and are back in use, while the greens are showing good pace, even if I couldn’t get the ball to go uphill.

Same old story here, only three of our 49 starters managed to play to handicap or less.
Those who played today and had scores in the forties at the past two outings came down to earth with a thud, but this is Treasure Hill.

Jon Dean is a rare and welcome visitor as his work keeps him away a lot of the time, but he made sure this trip was worthwhile by scoring 37 points for the win in ‘A’ flight and the Green Jacket. Phil Davies, at last, found his real form to score 36 points for second spot which left Patrick Engels in his third minor placing in a row, scoring 33 points for third.

Billy Buchanan has been consistent and grabbed his chance today by winning ‘B’ flight with 36 points, the third of the only three playing to handicap. Charles Miller came from nowhere to score 35 points for second and a much-improved showing from Tony Browne got him into third place with his 34 points.

Mike Firkin returned to the winner’s list, after a bit of a drought, to take ‘C’ flight with 32 points. Consistent Nigel Harrison had 31 points for second and Rick Pope was in the placings again with 30 points.

Near pins ‘A’ flight: George Mueller, Vic Hansen, Jon Dean, John Harrison,
Near pins ‘B’ flight: Mike Kaps, Nils-Peter Kristensen, Paul Greaves, Mike Tottenham,
Best Front Nine (non winners) …. Henry Mah….19 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) …. John Anderson ….17 pts c/back

Three silly things on Wednesday and another three today had to go to short straws (tooth picks) countback. Willy Brown left his carry bag in the bus. The driver delivered it back later. John Masters dropped something from his bag and it stayed in the bus until it was returned by the driver, both silly. Maurice didn’t play today so, to keep himself amused, he timed each group as they left the eighteenth green to measure the gap between groups. The slowest was 16 minutes and ten seconds behind the group in front of them, so all four took part in the draw. One by one they drew okay until finally, Tony Browne. He grabbed two sticks, one of which was the short one and he hurriedly tried to give it back, but, too late.
He wore the ‘silly hat’ on behalf of the other five ‘silly’ things.

The ‘wig’ was easier as Mike Tottenham had a rare poor scoring day.

To end the day, the unexpected. A sudden heavy rain shower nearly drenched our last three groups as they tried to find shelter, but after a slight delay they finished the round.

Scratch Card Wins Green Jacket for Durkan

The Pattaya Links Golf Society tried hard to clog up the highway on Monday, 27th January as fifty-two golfers travelled in various modes of transport to Royal Lakeside to play a stableford competition in three flights, divided at fourteen and under, fifteen to twenty and twenty-one and above.

Two tees had been offered and gratefully accepted and play got underway on time on a course in very good condition, as usual. However the PLGS overlooked the propensity for Thai starters to block the passage of tournament golfers as they inserted Thai golfers at the tenth and caused a five-hour-plus round for more than half the field. It was to be a long day.

Scores were excellent and in the third flight Stuart Thompson was fourth with 34 points, following Keith Melbourne in third with 37. The runner-up was Larry Slattery on 38 points and the winner was John Masters, scoring forty points on his final round this trip.

The second flight found a podium place for Masa Sugaya, his first this trip, with 36 points. Third place went to Stuart Kidd with another sub par round, this time 39 points. Forty points gave Thorsten Jodehl second place and the flight was won by Rana Gurnam with 42 points, much to sparring partner Mr Phil's chagrin.

In the top flight the four principals all recorded high scores with Colm Lawlor taking fourth with 38 and Pierre Cere going one better to find a rare but long overdue podium place with 39 points. Scottish golfer Ian Bell's round was another example of a low handicapper enjoying fine course conditions as he was runner-up with 42 points. The day's best score was 45 points - scratch scoring by Paul Durkan who took the green jacket in style, his second in the last two weeks. It was an exceptional effort by Paul and represented the best PLGS points score at the course across almost forty visits.

Near pins went to Andrew Purdie, Paul Durkan, Colm Lawlor, Masa Sugaya, Gordon Laviolette, Stuart Thompson, David da Caminada and Einar Widness. The consolation prizes for the best nines were won by David da Caminada (22 points, front nine) and Steve Moxey (18 points, back nine).

The long day ended with good humour as Mr Phil presented the brunette wig to blonde lady golfer. Nicole Gerstenberg, still very much a novice, for her poor round and Jason Gillespie managed the silly hat on his first round this trip with the lowest recorded nine hole score.

Now, with a two tee start promised for our next visit in February, it is hoped the Starter at Royal Lakeside gives it some thought and delays Thai groups starting in the middle of a tournament. We live in hope!

Wayne Back in the Winner’s Circle

Peace and calm were restored at Eastern Star today as there was not the over booking that caused a lot of running around and brow wiping on our last visit three weeks ago. The first of our nine groups teed off 5 minutes after the scheduled time and made good headway, although a little slow at times.

The course is still in very good condition and the greens still have good pace, not affected at all by recent sanding. Downhill putts went further than some thought they might.

Not so many players today, so we paid two flights and one set of near pins. This course, as with Treasure Hill, is not renowned for high stableford scores and today that legend stayed intact as, of the 36 players, only Wayne Peppernell was able to play to his handicap. That gave him the win in ‘A’ flight and a long awaited next Green Jacket. David De Caminada’s 34 points put him in second spot. He has been close to the top a couple of times, and nearly made it. Rana Gurnam is spurred on by a private competition against Phil so has been consistent. Thirty-three points got him to third place. Paul Gill did well to survive a countback with 32 points for fourth.

The ‘B’ flight saw Mikael Lindberg, in his last outing this trip, take the top spot with 34 points to win a countback over Garry Hookey. A rare appearance from Niall Caven let him get third place with 33 points and Bill Stewart won a countback on 32 points to grab the final place on the podium.
 
Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Mike Ehlert, Other ‘A’ flight pin not claimed.
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Bill Stewart, Helen Lindberg
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. Tony Browne….18 pts c/back
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Gordon Laviolette ….17 pts c/back

Mikael and Helene Lindberg have had a good long holiday this trip and both have figured very prominently at the presentations. Being environmentally conscious, they saved all the pink envelopes and gave them to Phil for recycling.  Phil began today’s presentations in an unusual order by announcing the winner of ‘C’ flight (when there was none) as Mikael Lindberg with 31 points. Mikael was more surprised when his named was called again and again until we all realized Phil was reading from the recycled envelopes, where the Lindbergs had won them all and, after much laughter finally tossing them all into the air.

Then on to the ‘real’ prize winners for today.

During reading of ‘B’ flight Mikael, same one, disagreed with the score announced for his name. A quick check found the scorer had misread the figures on the scorecard. A hasty rearrangement of placings and on with the show. All this must have thrown Phil as he presented the ‘silly hat’ to Vic Hansen who should have had the ‘wig’. Derek Phillips rightfully claimed the ‘silly hat” for lowest nine-hole score and Vic settled in under the ’wig’.

Steve Moxey's First Ever Green Jacket

This morning started, as usual, with a couple of cancellations and one no show but, not to be deterred, we arrived at the course with 43 golfers ready to go. Our scheduled start time was 11.00 am and we were offered, and gratefully accepted, a two-tee start. The starter sent our first groups off about 15 minutes early which then saw all 11 groups on their way by 11.15 am, excellent.

The course was in great shape but we opted for lift, clean and place on the fairways as it is normal, here at Greenwood, to have some mud around the perimeter of the greens due to water sprinkler run-off.

Tip Briney has just returned from a scuba diving trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and hit his straps first up at Links with a terrific 41 points to win ‘C’ flight by a long way. Unfortunately, he missed the Green Jacket on countback. Not fair sometimes. Second was occasional visitor, Masao Okada, with 35 points, followed by Bryan Barrell, again in the placings and putting his 34 handicap at risk, he scored 34 points.

We said bon voyage to Keith Griffith only a couple weeks ago, but he is back and hasn’t lost any form at all. His good 38 points got him a win in the ‘B’ flight. Wayne Peppernell wore the Green Jacket last week and came close again, scoring 37 points to beat a resurgent Jason Gillespie on countback.

When Steve Moxey came to live in Pattaya a few months ago, he had an Australian handicap of 12. He has been frustrated that he could not play to that here. But today, a breakthrough, as he put together his best round yet, scoring 41 points and wearing his very first Green Jacket.  Second and third went to the ever reliable, Bill Copeland with 38 points and Kevin LaBar with 37 points.

Near pins ‘A’ flight: Steve Moxey (x2), Jason Gillespie (x2),
Near pins ‘B’ flight: Keith Griffith, Mike Firkin, Bill Stewart, John Chelo.
Best Front Nine (non winners) …. Paul Gill….21 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) …. Patrick Engels ….20 pts

The announcement of the ‘silly hat’ winner became a loud, finger pointing affair as Paul Durkan tried to explain Paul Lanzetta’s missing locker key, and the “would-be” good Samaritan, Martin Patch, finding it in the door. Phil decided that the main pointer, Paul Durkan, should wear the hat.Masa Sugaya has worn all the different attire at some stage, but today he wore the ‘wig’ for a total score blow out.

Plenty of fun back at Links Bar to end another great golfing day.

 

February

Change of Course – Avril Wins First ‘Jacket’

When the PSC February rates were posted on Jan.30, very helpful, we had a quick look to catch any changes from last month’s pricing. I saw the special 1650 bht G/fee, caddy, cart price at Khao Kheow was missing. As we had thought that price would roll into Feb, I decided on a phone call to confirm or get a new price to inform the players. That call confirmed for Links Golf on Monday Feb.3 our price is 1650 bht all in.

The first we heard about 2150 bht was at the green fees desk at check-in. The manager was called, some explaining by Paul Smith who speaks fluent Thai, and attempted negotiations failed, so Phil told him that we will just load our 44 golfers on the buses and go somewhere else. There was no attempt to stop us.

Nearby Pleasant Valley was only too happy to take the combined 90,000+ bht that our golfers had in their pockets ready to spend. We had a booking at KK for Feb.21, that is now cancelled along with that approx. 90,000 bht plus two more on the draft schedule for March.

Everybody calmly waited until the later tee time of 11.30 am, caddies were sorted and our first group got away on time. The course is in very good condition, and has been for quite some time now. I think this is the Pleasant Valley we might expect from here on.

We had some good results today without those crazy 40 plus scores.

Andrew Kelleher was pretty disappointed with his first game back a couple of weeks ago, but has been gradually getting happier and his 38 points to win the ‘A’ flight shows that he is back. Steve Moxey won the Green Jacket on Friday and continued that form to score 37 points for second place, while Patrick Engels was once again among the results with his 36 points to win a countback over his good mate, Pierre Cere.

Keith Griffiths has had two games since getting back last week and won both of them. Today, 38 points got him the ‘B’ flight win. Stuart Thompson, in his last outing before heading back to Aus. for a while, and Darren Beavers battled it out at 37 points, for the minor placings, with Stu getting the nod for second on countback.

The ‘C’ flight produced a winning score from another lady visitor. Avril Chambers made 39 points to take the win and her first Green Jacket. She is the third lady winner in a few weeks, so maybe Phil’s idea of a Pink Jacket is taking shape. Jim Ferris has slowly been returning to form and his score of 34 points took second spot ahead of Kenny Jepson on 32 points.

Near Pin ‘A’ flight: George Mueller, Andrew Kelleher, Peter Lacey, Wayne Peppernell
Near Pin ‘B’ flight: Alan Walker, Jim Ferris, Avril Chambers, Larry Slattery.
Best Front Nine “C” (non winners) …. John Chelo….21 pts c/back
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Keith Melbourne ….21 pts

It was getting late by the time of presentations so it was decided to leave out the ‘wig’ for today. But…Phil couldn’t resist the chance to tell another story about Rana and have him wear the ‘silly hat’. A day that could have turned into somewhat of a disaster was handled extremely well by Phil with the complete cooperation of all players, well done all. And, we got to play golf.

Ishikawa On Fire at Green Valley

The Pattaya Links Golf Society revisited Green Valley on Wednesday, 5th February, to play a stableford competition in two flights, divided at sixteen and under. The golfers found a course in excellent condition and well marshalled to allow a prompt start. Fairways are still green and giving some "run", bunkers are well tended, caddies are diligent and the greens splendidly paced. The course was set for good scoring for golfers on top of their game.

With the cut at sixteen the two flights saw some excellent performances with canny Scot Bill Buchanan taking the "A" flight with a fine 40 point score. In second place was John Harrison on 37 points, just heading off Russell Exley with 36 points, Stuart Kidd completed the rankings with 35 points, in fourth place.

In the second flight Len Jones returned 33 points for fourth spot, two adrift of Tony Browne in third with 35 points. Another fine round from Tip Briney gave him second, this time with 37 points, but the flight, and Green Jacket, was won by Japanese golfer Masao Ishikawa with a blistering 42 points.

Near pins went to Russell Exley, Mike Ehlert, Huw Phillips and Bill Buchanan in the top flight whilst Tony Browne, Masao Ishikawa, Richard Pope and Len Jones took the envelopes in the "B" flight. Consolation best nines went to Lee Rodman (20 points) on the front nine with Steve Moxey scoring 19 points on the back nine.

Mr Phil decided against awarding any of the Booby prizes as all golfers had behaved impeccably. Will the standard continue on our next round at Pattavia? Up to you!

 Richard Fearby Comes in Under Par

Although it received a good shower of rain the previous evening, Pattavia Golf course is showing plenty of dry patches. Earlier visits saw only the rough drying out, but now some brown tinges are appearing on the fairways. However, the greens are in top notch condition and still tricky enough, even for the good golfers.

At the first tee, the first of our twelve groups started slightly later than scheduled, unusually, as we had another Society in front. They had only four groups and moved along very well so there were no hold-ups and everyone finished in good time.

The ‘A’ flight saw a runaway win for #1 handicapper, Richard Fearby, with a score of 40 points, but more importantly a gross score of 69, excellent play on this course, or any course for that matter. David DeCaminada had his best game this trip, so far, scoring 38 points for second spot ahead of the ever-present Paul Smith who held out Paul Tedesco on 37 points.

The ‘B’ flight went to a three-way countback and determined that Charles Miller came out on top followed by returnee, Michael Olah, in his first game back and Karl Flood, finding some form, taking the third spot.

The ‘C’ flight scores didn’t set the world on fire but provided a tight finish with four scores of 32 points. Rick Pope came out best to take the win from Chris Walsh, in a rare appearance, with Tip Briney filling third place. Jim Ferris was the unlucky one to miss out.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Michael Olah, David DeCaminada, Ray Banks, Stuart Kidd
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Bryan Barrell, Charles Miller, Garry Hookey, Berndt Motzenbacher
Best Front Nine (non winners) …. Mike Tottenham….19 pts. Best Back Nine (non winners) …. Derek Phillips ….21 pts

The last bus returned quite late after being held up on the 331 due to a fatal accident. By the time that arrived at Links Bar, many players from earlier buses had drifted off into the night. So, the Green Jacket winner wasn’t there, nor was the would-be recipient of the ‘wig’ so Phil decided he would also hold off the ‘silly hat’. That was a good move because he would have worn it himself for driving into Greenwood Golf Club before being reminded he should be back up the road at Pattavia.

After the ‘exciting’ week we have had, a rather tame finish, but we can take that.

Resurgent Rana Wins at Silky Oak

A couple of days of frantic cell phone activity followed Treasure Hill's latest public holiday attempt to delete a Pattaya golf group in preference for late local entrants. Yes they've done it again folks! Instead PLGS were able to get in at Silky Oak, at an excellent holiday rate, on Monday, 10th February.

The course is very dry with close cut fairways and the greens are on the slow side. It is clear that Green Valley is putting all of its irrigation efforts onto the main course at the complex as St Andrews also appears very dry. Unfazed, the PLGS took to the tee on time and played a stableford event in two flights with the division set at fifteen and under.

In the second flight a tight contest took place with Canadian Gordon Laviolette taking a welcome third place with 36 points. The top two golfers turned from "headline writers" to "headline makers" as John Anderson held off the challenge from Len Jones, winning on countback with both golfers returning 37 points.

In the top flight Bill Buchanan again made the frame with a third placed 37 points, one behind runner-up Bill Wilkinson on 38 points. The flight winner was Rana Gurnam with 39 points and it was good to see him cast off all of best mate Phil's friendly "digs" from last week to take the Green Jacket in style.

Near pins went to Paul Gill, Rana, Peter Lacey, Stuart Kidd and Kim Hewson and the consolation envelopes for the best nines went to Andy Kelleher (21 on the front) and Keith Melbourne (20 on the back). Masa Sugaya wore the silly hat with the poorest nine score whilst Michael Olah enjoyed his first "wig" this trip.

The PLGS had been able to enjoy a good competition despite the efforts of Treasure Hill management to thwart them and it serves as a reminder to other clubs that we golfers are resilient and will always make a pleasant golf day out of a potential rejection. The Golf Buddha, he say "Put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

Larry Slattery Loves a Green Jacket

We’re not sure why this is happening lately, but it seems a number of golf courses that we have been to have not had enough caddies available when we arrive. Greenwood is usually very well organized, but on this day there was confusion as the starters were trying to round up caddies and carts. In fact, our last group started out driving their carts themselves, without caddies. The caddies got to them, eventually.
Having given a brickbat, now some praise. Greenwood is one of the few courses where a group with big numbers, such as our 48 players today, are given a two tee start. It makes it so much easier for all, and an earlier finish, much appreciated.
This course is always in top condition and, even considering the lack of rain, kept up that standard with well cut fairways and greens running at a good pace of about 9.3 to 9.5.
Richard Fearby went under par again to record 37 points from his scratch handicap to win the ‘A’ flight. Does he ever have a bad game? Probably, but not today. Second spot went to Mike Ehlert with 36 points in a nice improvement on his recent outings. In form Andy Kelleher won a countback to take third place with 34 points.
“B” flight produced the starring score for the day as Larry Slattery romped home with a big 41 points. Of course, he won the flight as well as the Green Jacket, and not for the first time. Maurice Roberts was hoping the ‘yips’ are gone as he handed in a score of 38 points for second place. Hot and cold Derek Phillips was hot today to record 37 points to hold down third spot in a tight countback.
They say ‘age shall not weary them’ and it certainly did not weary a couple of our older gents. Alan Walker turned back the clock by scoring a great 39 points to take the win in ‘C’ flight. John Pearce is about the same vintage and surprised himself with his 34 points, while ‘youngster’, Chris Walsh took third with 33 points.
Once again plenty of near pins to be won, but only 7 of the 8 were claimed. Those par 3’s at Greenwood are long.
Near pins ‘A’ flight: Jason Periera (x2), Tommy Marshall, Richard Fearby. Near pins ‘B’ flight: Barry Cunningham, Masa Sugaya, Larry Slattery, one pin not claimed.
All back nice and early for the presentations and the hunt for the owner of the carry bag left in a buggy at the course. A candidate for the ‘silly hat’? Well, Gordon got away with it because Phil found another reason for Rana to wear it again.
As Phil presented the ‘wig’ to Hilary Stoker, again, he gave her some advice about the driving range so she doesn’t wear it a third time.

Canada’s Pierre Wins First ‘Jacket’

After a mixed week of playing one course with dry, dusty fairways and then the next course running short of caddies and carts, we arrived at Burapha Golf Club a little earlier in the year than usual, thanks to the offer of a great all-in price. Our tee time was 11.30 am and, something most of us had not done before, we teed off on the B nine first. We were asked to wait until 11.30 am to enable other groups crossing over nines. No problem and, in fact, we did get going about 5 minutes before the 11.30 time.

All agreed that this course is in terrific condition where, it seems, the fairways have had plenty of water and the greens are running truly, albeit slightly slower than expected here, but no complaints. The day was warm with a steady breeze, gusting at times, and then dying out later in the day.

Paul Smith played a cracker of a game to record 41 points, gross 70, for the win in the ‘A’ flight against some tough opposition. David DeCaminada continued to improve, this time taking second spot with 39 points ahead of a very good round from Tommy Marshall who filled third place with 38 points. Top golf all round.

You think those scores were good?  Pierre Cere, who has been gradually getting his game together this trip wowed them all with a haul of 43 points to have a runaway win in ‘B’ flight. Maurice Roberts continued his good form from a couple of days ago to win a countback for second place with 35 points, ahead of the consistent Stuart Kidd who took third spot on another countback.

Barry Cunningham scored a big 39 points to have a good win in ‘C’ flight. Gordon Laviolette, who started off this trip well down on form, has really started to get it going and his 36 points got him into second place while Mike Firkin had one of his better days to grab third with 34 points.

Near pins ‘A’ flight: Tommy Marshall, Pierre Cere, Bill Steinmann, Rana Gurnam
Near pins ‘B’ flight: Charles Miller, Tip Briney, Maurice Roberts, Derek Phillips
    
Best Front Nine (non winners) – Andy Kelleher – 22 pts. Best Back Nine (non winners) - Mike Ehlert – 18 pts c/back.
Rana booked a seat on the return bus to bring his caddy to town for Valentine’s Day. It came as a shock when she agreed, on condition he buy her a flat screen television as a Valentine’s present. Rejection and dejection set in for Rana, so he was spared the ‘silly hat’.
Burapha was a good day out for all and we will return next month.

McEntee Returns to take Green Jacket

The Pattaya Links Golf Society visited Bangpakong Riverside on Monday, 17th February to play a stableford competition in three flights with the cut coming at thirteen and under, fourteen to twenty and twenty-one plus. As usual the course was splendidly presented with well grassed fairways with some "spring" in them, bunkers were well tended and the greens still retained some of their weekend pace. All that was lacking was the cooling breeze, so evident on most occasions and as a result the day became quite sultry and held the scores down a little.

In the third division Dave Arataki took third place with a meagre 30 point score, three behind runner-up Tip Briney on 33. The flight winner was Len Jones with 34 points. His renaissance, after an unhappy second half to 2019, is very welcome.

In the second flight Dave Ritchie was third with 35 points, losing the runner-up spot to Wayne Peppernell with 36 points. The flight winner was Canadian John Chelo and he returned an excellent 38 points, only to lose out for the green jacket on countback.

The top flight saw PLGS newbie Mike Cheswick take third place with 36 points, with Steve Moxey taking second with 37 points. The flight winner was the returning Irishman, Kevin McEntee with 38 points and his back nine gave him the advantage in the green jacket chase over John Chelo.

Near pins went to Tommy Marshall, David De Caminada and Kevin McEntee (two) in the "A" Flight and to Jim Beard (three!) in the "B" flight. One B Flight near pin was not won.

Consolation awards for the best nines went to Ray Banks (18, front) and Chas Miller (21, back).

Mr Phil again considered Rana Gurnam for the "wig" award after it was discovered that Rana's mates had managed to block him on the "Thai Friendly" social media site. He is even now seeking advice on "unblocking" techniques. The wig went to Pat Murphy instead, as the oldest man in the field walked the course and struggled in the heat to put together a satisfactory score. The "silly hat" went to Michael McGuigan for the poorest nine-hole score.

The week had started in fine style with the PLGS.

Charles Miller Breaks Through for a Win

It’s been a long time since we visited Phoenix, for various reasons, so when it was found that they had a couple of Wednesday slots available, and at a reasonable price, let’s give it another try. The verdict was that it was a good course presented in very good condition. Plenty of grass on the fairways and greens that were a good pace, running true and quite puttable.

The weather was warm with a nice breeze, most of the time, to keep things comfortable.

Perhaps a small complaint is that the starter tried to insert a four-ball and a two-ball as our first groups crossed over to Mountain course. Some protest from our players resulted in the four-ball being sent to the Lakes course, causing a short delay for our group.

The results were generally pretty good considering that the lowest score was 24 points which resulted in a three way countback for the dreaded ‘wig’.

Near pins ‘A’ flight: Mike Ehlert, Andrew Kelleher, Patrick Engels, Connie Walsh
Near pins ‘B’ flight: Barry Cunningham, Dave Arataki, Stuart Taylor, Tony BrowneLong First Putt: Les Cobban

‘A’ Flight ( 0-13)
1st  Place – Andrew Kelleher (11) – 37 pts c/back
2nd Place – Steve Moxey (12) - 37 pts c/back
3rd Place – Tommy Marshall (7) - 37 pts

“B” Flight (14-20)
1st  Place –  Charles Miller (18) – 39 pts
2nd Place – Tony Browne (16) - 36 pts
3rd Place – Stuart Kidd (15) - 35 pts c/back

‘C’ Flight ( 21+)

1st  Place – Barry Oats (29) - 38 pts
2nd Place – Barry Cunningham (22) - 36 pts
3rd Place – Niall Caven (22) - 35 pts

Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Pierre Cere – 21 pts
Best Back Nine ( non winners) -  Kevin LaBar – 18 pts c/back

It was a later start time, 11.30 am, and our first group hit off a few minutes earlier than that and kept up a good pace. It was just on dusk when the last bus arrived back to Links but almost all of the 52 players stayed on for the food and presentations.
In the morning draw for group positions, some twist of fate has handed Derek Phillip’s group last or second last position for the past few draws.  Don’t share a lottery ticket with him. Not only that, but Derek also ‘won’ the countback for the ‘wig’. Dave Arataki won a near pin and then got to wear the ‘silly hat’ for lowest nine hole score. Funny game.
We have another Wednesday booking at Phoenix next month so would hope for another big turn out of players for that.

Buchanan Bucks the Wind at Pleasant Valley

Pleasant Valley was the venue for the Pattaya Links Golf Society on Friday, 21st February. The course was in good condition with greens which held some pace but the main feature of the day was a strong wind, a rare event there in the shade of the hills and it had a serious bearing on the day's golf. Acting as a real leveller it kept scores in check and tightened up the top places.with the top ten all within four stableford points.

With two divisions in play, cut at sixteen and under, the eleven group field got underway on time and the very full course saw groups make progress without too much delay.

In the second flight fifth place went to Pat Murphy with 35 points, countback placing Dave Ritchie above him in fourth. A three-way tie at the top saw third place go to Dave Arataki with 38 points losing on countback to Gordon Laviolette for runner-up. Gordon also lost out on countback for the winner's slot as Len Jones produced an excellent 24 points on the back nine to take the win.

In the top flight Fifth place went to Andy Kelleher with 35 points, Rana Gurnam nosing ahead into fourth on countback. Third place went to Tommy Marshall with 37 points, with Paul Tedesco's better back nine giving him second place on the same score. Scotsman Bill Buchanan is no stranger to playing in the wind - "if it's breezy, swing easy" - and his winning round of 39 points gave him the green jacket.

Near pin winners were:

A Fligjht Tommy Marshall, Bill Buchanan, Tony Browne and Ronnie Green

B Flight Masa Sugaya, Pat Murphy, Bryan Barrell and Len Jones.

Best front nine went to John Mason (19 points) with John Pearce taking the envelope for the best back nine with 21 points.

The absence of the booby winners was noted and the wig and silly hat were kept under wraps until the next round.

Thus the week ended with a real test at Pleasant Valley.

The Moxey and Miller Show at Lakeside

As our bus entered the driveway of Royal Lakeside Golf Club one of the passengers was impressed, seeing the clubhouse for the first time, and he hadn’t been inside yet.
Check-in was efficient, except for Moxey, who often has a problem or drama, but once sorted it was out to find our caddies.

One starter seemed to have a problem understanding a two tee start, but another marshal sorted it and sent 5 of our 13 groups to the 10th tee. The first groups from both tees got away right on schedule and had a smooth run for the round.

As always, this course is in fine condition, although it was somewhat surprising to see brown tinges appearing on the fairways, it was still grass, only a different colour.
The greens are near perfect and nice to putt on.

We have come to expect big scores here and today there were some ‘biggies’. Dave Arataki played in a group with a seven handicapper and a scratch marker. It must have inspired him as he scored a great 41 points to win ‘C’ flight. Tip Briney had one of his good days to have 38 points and take second spot on countback from the improving Gordon Laviolette.

‘B’ flight also had some big scores and the biggest was a 45-point haul from Charles Miller, a Green Jacket winner a week or so back. Phil Davies playing in ‘B’ flight is a most unusual thing, but he was, and took second place with 42 points. We haven’t seen Donal McGuigan for a while but he made an impressive return to the group by taking third spot with 39 points.

The big scores kept coming as Steve Moxey scored the other 45 points of the day to win ‘A’ flight and later wear the Green Jacket for the second time in a month. Russell Exley has really got his game together recently and recorded 42 points for second place. Connie Walsh scored 38 points to grab third spot on countback over scratch marker, Garry Barker.
Garry had best gross of 70 in his first game this trip.
Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Charles Miller (x2), Garry Barker, Connie Walsh
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Gordon Laviolette (x2), John Chelo, Niall Caven
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. Dave Hewson….22 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) ….Pierre Cere ….21 pts

Dave Hewson brought two mates to play at Links, Paul Sales and Richard Sunderland. They were not the first to mark a stableford card the wrong way round and confuse the scorers, but they were the latest, so Phil decided that one got it wrong and the other didn’t correct him so they had a ‘wig’ and ‘silly hat’ between them.
Royal Lakeside lived up to it’s reputation with plenty of points scored.

Moxey Towels Them Up Again

We arrived at the green fees office ready for a day out at Eastern Star. A misunderstanding, or misinformation over green fee vouchers caused a quiet stir when some were charged more than others. A phone call to get the correct information quickly sorted things out and all headed to the locker room.

The course was busy once again and the starter asked us to start earlier than our assigned time. The first group was quickly at the tenth tee and, after quick round-up of the second and third groups, all eleven groups got away smoothly and about twenty minutes early. One experienced player was concerned about the crossover of nines, as the course was so busy.

As I walked towards Wan, the super-efficient lady starter here, she answered my question before I asked. She set out her plan and it worked perfectly; all groups went through with no hold ups.

Two days ago, Steve Moxey scored 45 points to win the Green Jacket after he beat Charles Miller on countback. Today there was no countback as he swept all before him with another big score, this time 42 points, to clearly win the ‘A’ flight. Peter Lacey had a very credible score of 37 points to take second place and then, much to Phil’s amazement, and a chuckle, he and Russell Exley had a countback for third and fourth, both with 31 points. Russell had the better back nine.

We hadn’t seen Bill Stewart for a while and wondered where he was, but he returned in a most successful way by scoring 37 points to win the ‘B’ flight. We had better stop calling Barry Oats ‘the old stager, as he claimed his second podium finish in a week. He can still play golf, even with an injury. His 35 points got him second place.

Barry Cunningham had a good day out with 34 points while sometime ‘wig’ wearer, Masa Sugaya, scored 32 points to hold out the other Masa, Okada, on countback to take fourth spot.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Petur Petursson (x2), Keith Griffith, Ronnie Greene.
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Masa Okada, Joe Earls, Ollie Walsh, one pin not claimed.
Best Front Nine “C” (non-winners) …. Alan Walker….19 pts
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. Gordon Laviolette ….18 pts

Keith Griffith has had some good recent form and dropped his handicap a couple of shots. Today wasn’t one of those good days as he ‘won’ a countback for lowest score on a nine and wore the ‘silly hat’. Paul Sales wore the ‘wig’ for the second time this week.

Eastern Star is starting a nice priced special in March and we will return in a couple of weeks for that.

Tight at the Top - Huw Phillips Wins It

As golfers, we must always expect the unexpected, but we had no idea that a heavy rain storm was about to hit Pattana Golf Club as we arrived for our Friday round. After checking in, the mustering area became crowded with our fifty players, some Thai players, starters, as well as caddies for everyone. However, the rain eventually moved away and we were got away exactly on the scheduled time of 12.05 pm.   Our appreciation to Pattana for giving us a two tee start and, with a clear run all the way, all groups were in and showered in good time, the leading groups in just under four hours.

Once again it was a tight finish in the ‘A’ flight with two players scoring 42 points, which was excellent scoring as the fairways had become quite soft and the first few greens were slowed a little after the rain, but quickly came back to their best. Huw Phillips won ‘A’ flight on countback from newcomer, Chris Patterson, a nine handicapper. Huw doesn’t play that often so it has been a while since the last time he wore the Green Jacket. Third place went to Mr. Consistent, Andrew Kelleher, with 39 points.

Banjo Bannister came out to play and ran off with the win in ‘B’ flight, scoring a very handy 40 points, which might have won on another day. Adam Barton has shown some of his real form lately and took second spot with 38 points and Eddie Runfors returned after a long absence to score 37 points and grab third place by winning a countback.

John Pearce was on the verge of disqualification as he had not handed in his card on time, but he got away with it to win ‘C’ flight with 41 points. Seamus Byrne seemed surprised that his 35 points got him second place, but only on a countback against Jim Ferris’s 35 points.
Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Kevin McEntee, Connie Walsh, Dave Hewson, Joe Carlton
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Gordon Laviolette, Wayne Varis, Chris Walsh, Joe Earls
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. Derek Phillips….21 pts
Best Back Nine (non-winners) …. Peter Lacey ….21 pts

Apart from causing the scorer problems over the card, John Pearce had racked up a number of reasons to wear the ‘silly hat’. Signing up a mate from UK for three games when said mate was still in UK and not expecting to be here. Also, while at PSC offices, saw vouchers for sale for Emerald, so bought one only to be told that we were not scheduled to go to Emerald. The list goes on. Phil was hoping to present his buddy, Tony Manners, with the ‘wig’ on his first game back. Tony played his part by recording the worst score of the day

March

Tony Browne Wins on a Low Scoring Day

How nice it is for a change of pace to get to the green fees office and pay less than what you were expecting. That happened today at Bangpakong Riverside and made for some very happy golfers. This course is not showing the same signs of dryness as most other courses in the region and was a pleasure to play.
The weather was warm with just a nicely timed breeze to keep everyone comfortable.
So, with the course in beautiful condition, the greens running truly and with pace, and nice weather, why were the scores much lower than we have come to expect here?
That’s just the way golf goes sometimes.

Just when it looked like 36 points would win the day, Tony Browne, in the last group, grabbed the last-minute win with 37 points for the ‘B’ flight title and the Green Jacket. Chas Miller continued his good form and almost had it with his score of 36 points, while Michael Olah won a countback for third place with 35 points.

Scratch marker, Garry Barker, who has shown fine form this trip, once again went around in par for 36 points and the ‘A’ flight win. His long-time buddy and co-traveller, James Hudson, grabbed second spot with a solid 35 points and Phil Ashton, in his first game back from the U.K, won a countback for third on 34 points.

All three placings in today’s ‘C’ flight were on the podium on Friday and returned there again. Eddie Runfors came out on top with 36 points and then John Pearce beat Jim Ferris on countback at the 34 points mark.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: James Hudson, John Ryalls, Kevin McEntee, Tommy Marshall
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Chas Miller, John Chelo, Gordon Laviolette, Tony Browne
Best Front Nine “C” (non-winners) …. Chris Walsh….20 pts
Best Back Nine “A” (non winners) …. David McKey ….22 pts

Michael Wright was in a four ball where three of them took the ‘A’; flight placings, only Michael missed out because of a poor score on one of the nines. He wore the ‘silly hat’ in his first game back with us. Derek Bines was playing his first game here, and it showed, so his lowly score got him his first try of the ‘wig’. Bangpakong is a nice course and worth the extra few minutes to get there, and the price is now very tasty.

Phil’s Birthday Bash- What a Party!


Seventy-two golfers came to Green Valley Golf Course to help Phil Davies celebrate his latest birthday. This course is in terrific condition, considering the lack of water available, as many courses are drying out now.
As we started to assemble at the first tee, the starter was pushing us to get the groups going early as he had to fit in a three-ball. Fairly soon he calmed down after deciding to start them from the tenth. We got our 19 groups away in a little less than two hours and, with no hold ups, all finished in good time, the first group came in under four hours.
Plenty of presents available on such a big day with three flights and loads of novelty prizes.
Phil Ashton, playing his second game since arriving from UK, took out the ‘A’ flight with a solid 37 points. Then came three players on 36 points which needed the countback to sort them. Andrew Kelleher maintained his very consistent game to run in to second place followed by Chris Paterson in third and Joe Nagle in fourth. Steve Moxey took fifth spot with 35 points which came after many countbacks at that mark.
The ‘B’ flight results were a mirror image of the ‘A’ flight. Adam Barton, showing good form this trip won the flight with 37 points. Then followed another three-way tie on 36 points which, again, went to countback. Ann Stokes, one of only two ladies in the field, took second spot followed by the now consistent Chas Miller while Billy Buchanan grabbed the fourth place. John Chelo took fifth by winning another multiple countback.
The ‘C’ flight produced the three top scores of the day. The best of them all came from Mike Firkin who, only a few hours earlier, stepped off a plane after a quick trip to Australia. His great score of 40 points won him the flight and the Green Jacket.  John Hughes came in second, declaring that his 39 points was his best ever in Thailand, well done. Keith Melbourne is a high handicapper but is able to pull one out of the bag sometimes and this day it was a big 38 points, but only third place. Dave Rodriques, in a very rare appearance, surprised himself and his buddies in the group by scoring 36 points and taking fourth spot on countback over Chris Walsh.

It was still daylight as we arrived back at Links Bar and ready to party.
The formalities of the presentations for all the winners was done while the food was being prepared.
Then it was out to the pig on a spit and chicken on a spit plus loads of salad and fried rice, enough to feed an army. Inside, we had some mood music by a local Thai duo while everyone was eating and re-living their round of golf. Then the show started, and what a show as the great talents of the duo inspired some of our farang talent to join them on stage.

We know Phil can belt out the Tom Jones classics but tonight, as we had many Irish golfers, he gave them some renditions of some Irish songs. Garry Barker, Nick Shaw and Terry Archer and one or two others all did a few numbers covering various genres, all in professional style. The place was rocking as the audience joined in the chorus lines, and even a conga line formed as the dancing and music became more exciting.

Joy bought out the birthday cake, then some much appreciated donations from Jon Dean and Tommy Marshall became prizes in a lucky draw. Well actually, many lucky draws.

A great night where people stayed on much later than ever before to celebrate Phil’s Happy Birthday.

 Chris Paterson’s First Green Jacket

In the week and a half since we last visited Eastern Star, oh, how things have changed. Most players signed up for this day not aware that the price here had come down by 250 bht, so it was a nice surprise to start the day. Another change was the lack of numbers at the course. A few weeks ago it was crawling with people as the course had overbooked by plenty. Today we were asked to start about fifteen minutes early and the cross-over to the back nine was easy. Only another Society in front of us slowed things down and we took longer than we hoped to complete the round.

The course is still in very good condition and the greens are being likened to Pattavia with a quick pace and horrible downhills. Many three putts became the norm.  There was a stiff breeze for most of the day so scores were not fantastic, but they never really are here.

Scotsman Chris Paterson has now played four games with us and his big hitting, low handicap says he was going to win soon. Today was it when he topped the list with 36 points to win the ‘A’ flight and his first Green Jacket. Grant Pride, on his annual holiday from Australia, came in with 34 points for second. Andrew Purdie is as bigger hitter and he scored 33 points for third spot, while consistent Andrew Kelleher, who is going home soon, took fourth place with 30 points after winning a countback.

We had 50 players out and the cut for flights was surprisingly low today so  eyebrows were raised with some of the placings in ‘B’ flight. Jon Dean took first place with 33 points ahead of Mike Ehlert and Phil Ashton who finished in that order after countback at the 32 points mark. Dave Heyes, in his first hit this trip, filled fourth spot after winning a countback at 30 points.

Bryan Barrell can find a little extra something at times and today was one of them. He has won ‘C’ flight with 33 points, a good effort. Gordon Laviolette, in his final game this trip, took second with 31 points. Another countback was needed for the next placings where Tony Karakatsanis, another holiday maker, found his 29 points better than Joe Earl’s 29 points.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Grant Pride (x2), David Pettit, Phil Ashton
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Joe Carroll, Bryan Barrell, Derek Phillips, Kerry Marshall
Best Front Nine (non winners)….Keith Melbourne….19 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners)…..Masa Sugaya ….15 pts c/back

Mike Firkin scored just 7 points on the front nine (after wearing the Green Jacket on Wednesday). This time it was the green ‘silly hat’.
The Wow moment came when the winner of the ‘wig’, for the lowest score of the day, was announced as 9 handicapper and second place getter last Monday, James Hudson. We could not believe it and we think he was a bit shocked as well. However, we have all managed to wear it at some time, James.
This course looks easy but looks can be deceiving. Regardless, we will return again on March 30.

Kevin Wears the Green Jacket, at Last!

Back to Greenwood today at the great Monday Sports Day price of 600 bht green fee and, something that Greenwood does for big groups, a two-tee start.
This day it was courses B+C so, at the scheduled start time, we sent 6 groups to ‘B’ and the other 7 groups to ‘C’ and all got away easily and without fuss.
The weather was hot, of course, and the fairways are in very good condition with plenty of run. The greens here are always first class and the ‘B’ greens were the quicker of the two courses at 10.2 on the stimpmeter.

Once again, a low scoring day with, once again, no real explanation.

Kevin McEntee has, for a long time, wished to wear the ‘Jacket’ and the one time he should have worn it he didn’t come back to the Bar before the photo op, but this time it all came together, with a very good 37 points to win ‘A’ flight and, finally, wear the coveted Green Jacket. His playing partner and fellow Irishman, Connie Walsh, was one point back in second spot and ‘hot and cold’ Mike Ehlert grabbed third with 35 points.

Barry Forbes didn’t show much form in his previous game but turned it around by scoring 36 points to win ‘B’ flight on countback from Wayne Peppernell. Tony Browne had 34 points to take third place, also an improvement.

Jim Ferris manages to bob up in a placing occasionally. Today only 33 points but he’ll take it and the ‘C’ flight win. Gerry Hanrahan hasn’t played for quite a long time because of a back problem and he got right back into the action with a second placing, scoring 32 points to win a countback over Nigel Harrison.

Near pins ‘A’ flight: Andy Kelleher (x2), Tony Browne, Kevin McEntee
Near pins ‘B’ flight: John Rabbitt, Greg Thomson, Kerry Marshall, one pin not claimed.
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. David Pettit….18 pts c/back
Best Back Nine (non winners) …. James Hudson ….20 pts c/back

Sadly, there were farewells as a number of players, who have been around for a while, head back to their home countries. But, it seems, they are quickly replaced as the weather changes in other parts of the world.
Joe Carroll ‘won’ a three-way countback to wear the ‘silly hat’ for his 9 points on a nine. Kerry Marshall won a near pin, but that didn’t help, as he had the lowest score and wore the ‘wig’.
An excellent course, well organized and in good condition, we’ll be back soon.

 

Excellence From Ehlert

The Pattaya Links Golf Society made only its second visit in three years to local club Phoenix on Wednesday, 11th March and found a course in very good condition with well grassed fairways and greens well maintained. The bunkers however are very much "Phoenix-style", overfilled with soft sand and to be avoided at all costs.

There was very little breeze and the hot temperatures we are now enduring made for a tough day on a challenging course. The lack of Asian golfers currently led to the group starting earlier than booked on the Mountain and Ocean nines.

The field was divided into two flights, cut at thirteen and under and both flights saw some very high points scores. In the second flight Mark Efendie marked his final round this trip with a third placed 38 points, one behind runner-up Dave Arataki on 39. The flight winner was Michael Olah with 46 points, his best round with the group by far.

The top flight saw a similar spread with Tony Molan making the podium with 38 points, lagging behind runner-up Dave Hewson with 42 points. The flight winner was Mike Ehlert with a splendid 47 points. This marked his Links PB and it also gave him the Green Jacket for the day. A rare score indeed but two points shy of the Links record set just three months ago by Thorsten Jodehl.

Near pins went to Kevin McEntee, Mike Ehlert, Paul Smith and Steve Lynch (A flight) and Mike Olah, Niall Caven, Merle Humphreys and Bob Stokes in the B flight. The consolation best nine awards went to Paul Stewart for his 18 point front nine and to Rana Gurnam for his 23 points on the back.

With the wealth of good scores on the day Mr Phil decided to forgo the booby prizes so as not to besmirch the fine efforts elsewhere on a very enjoyable day at Phoenix.

 Hot Scores on a Hot Day

Phil Ashton’s 44 points the Hottest

As we set off from Links Bar the weather was warming up quickly and just got warmer and more humid as the day went on, an almost oppressive heat with little or no breeze for relief. Here’s something we can’t remember seeing before, the golf course was almost empty of customers. My long-time caddy said she had only worked on Monday and this Friday. Now this is getting serious for golf clubs and staff.

Apart from our 40 players and about six Thai players that we saw, there seemed to be no-one else around, almost millionaire’s golf for our first groups. Pattana management gave us a two tee start and, as it was an 11.30 tee time, resulted in all 10 groups getting away quickly.

Phil Ashton was a bit off colour for a few days but bounced back for his last game before heading home with a hot, hot score of 44 points to win ‘A’ flight and the Green Jacket. The forty-plus scores continued on from Wednesday as Steve Lynch, playing with a handicap of four, had 41 points, a gross 71. Grant Pride, six handicap, filled third spot with 40 points.

But wait, there’s more! “B” flight also produced the forties as Grant’s travelling mate, Barry Forbes, took the honours with 43 points. Niall Caven, also in his finale for this trip, took second place with 38 points while Merle Humphreys was the surprise, and surprised, third place with 36 points.
Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Peter Lacey, Grant Pride, Dave Heyes, Paul Kennedy
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Barry Forbes, Chris Walsh, Merle Humphreys, John Chelo
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. Tip Briney….21 pts c/back
Best Back Nine (non winners) …. Karl Flood ….21 pts c/back

This course was in top class condition with well grassed, and green, fairways, rough that is cut low but allows the ball to sink down and hide, quite difficult. The greens on the ‘B’ nine were slow and on the ‘A’ nine were described as variable. A most unusual description for these usually excellent greens.

Iain Craigen could have won either the wig or hat, but Phil decided to award him the ‘silly hat’ as Colin Smith had noted earlier in the day that he had never worn the ‘wig’. So, with the second lowest score of the day, Colin fulfilled his fantasy, or one of them.

With some hard fairways around many courses at this time and some outstanding golf play, may the forty plus scores keep coming.

Indian Takes Big Scalp

How quickly times change. The Pattaya Links Golf Society returned to Green Valley just one week after a superb birthday tournament for Mr Phil to find good fairways but slowish, "woolly" greens and an almost complete lack of wind. Oppressive and sultry conditions throughout made the day a struggle for many golfers, with only five golfers matching par or better.

With two flights divided at fifteen and under the group started on time and made good progress throughout on a relatively empty course.

In the second flight Ireland's Joe Earls made third place with 35 points, one behind runner-up Merle Humphreys. The flight winner was Derek Phillips with a fine 39 point return.

In the top flight Connie Walsh again found a place on the podium with 38 points, edged out of second by seven handicapper Tommy Marshall and 39 excellent points. The winner, with 40 points, was the Links' favourite Indian golfer, Rana Gurnam, who took a few scalps, including that of non-playing boss Mr Phil, currently suffering a wounded knee. It gave Rana the bragging rights and a little "wampum" to spare after suffering much banter and friendly rivalry during his trip.

Near pin awards went to Merle Humphreys (5), John Rabbitt (8), Joe Earls (13) and Masao Ishikawa (16), whilst the consolation best nine awards went to Dave Petit for his front nine 22 points and Pat Lavin's 20 points on the back nine.

The booby prizes went as forecast with Jeff Hunt taking the silly hat for his nine point return on the front nine and the wig was presented to Iain Craigen for the lowest score of the day. The day ended with the celebration of Dave Petit's birthday and the presentation of a sumptuous cake, enjoyed by all.

Despite the sultry conditions and woolly greens the course is always a delight to play and the group are all anticipating our next visit next month.

Derek Finds the Extra Three Points

After our visit to Burapha today, the main talking point back at Links was how good this course is. Fairways are green, with plenty of run, and greens in great condition albeit a little slower than expected, however, they were running true and turning when they should. It should then come as no surprise that 19 of the 42 players recorded a score of handicap or better and all but six had 30 points or more.

Steve Moxey was in the lead three-ball which took just three and a half hours for the round. He came in looking very pleased with himself as he had scored 40 points, which won him the ‘A’ flight honours. A young Japanese player, Takuya Okuda, joined us for the first time and, playing off a handicap of six, had 38 points to win a countback for second.
Rana Gurnam had another good one, scoring 38 points but losing that countback.

Last Monday Derek Phillips had 39 points but was beaten for the ‘Jacket’ by Rana. This time he scored an extra three points to turn the tables and win ‘B’ flight and, of course, the Green Jacket. Tony Browne has been in and out of the placings recently and today he won second spot on countback, on 38 points, to beat Tom Herrington who put in an improved performance.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Paul Kennedy, John Harrison, Steve Lynch, Steve Moxey
Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Colin Davis, Derek Phillips, Gerry Hanrahan, Tom Herrington
Best Front Nine (non-winners) – Peter Lacey – 21 pts
Best Back Nine (non-winners) - Andy Roberts – 22 pts

Phil’s injury is keeping him from playing right now but he decided to go for a hit at the driving range. The first swing caused enough pain for him to stop before starting.
Driving back to the clubhouse, he stopped to watch some of our players on the ninth green. One of them had three putts that would not go in and, in frustration the club was, well best not describe it here, but we should not do that. Fortunately, no damage was caused to the green, caddies or players. But, a ‘silly hat’ was in order for Peter Lacey.
Greg Thomson just had one of those days and got to wear the ‘wig’ for the lowest score.
With green fee vouchers, the price today was nice, the course in wonderful condition and the weather pleasant enough. What a shame that there are not many golfers around currently.

Each course we have been to in the past couple of weeks is almost empty, good for us, but not good for the clubs.
Let’s get back to normal quickly.

One Under Par 71 for Steven Lynch

What a good day to come to Pattavia Century Golf Club. The price is now on special at 1350 bht for g/fee, caddy and cart and we found that there was to be a large Junior Golfer’s tournament at the course the next day, so the whole course was bought up to an even higher standard than we normally find here.

Fairways in great condition with plenty of run, the rough not too bad and, yes, the greens very slick and as quick as ever on the downhill.
The weather was quite warm, but breezy, for most of the round.

The marshal was quite anxious for us to start, so the first of our ten groups teed off about 30 minutes before our booked time, and had a clear run all the way, as another society ahead of them kept a good pace.

Steven Lynch and a couple of mates from Australia have had only a short visit but fitted in plenty of golf. After a good win with another society the day before he came out ready to keep that form going. One under par 71, from his handicap of 3 gave him 40 points, the win in ‘A’ flight and his first Green Jacket. Wayne Peppernell has been building form and his 39 points today was an excellent score to take second place. Colin Smith started this trip with the ‘wig’ but has bounced back with a solid 37 points for third spot after winning a countback.

Jim Ferris has won a ‘jacket’ before but there is sometimes a gap between wins. Today, his 37 points gave him an easy win in ‘B’ flight. Tony Browne wore the ‘jacket’ at the start of the month and kept that form going with a respectable 33 points for second place, while John Rabbitt had 32 points for third spot.
Near Pins: Nigel Harrison (4), Kevin LaBar (7), Keith Peplow (13), Steven Lynch (17).
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. Mike Ehlert….21 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) …...Karl Flood ….19 pts c/back
Jim Ferris had a mixed day. First, he ‘lost’ his putter and, after much panic, Phil went to the car to lend Jim his putter. Before the round started, the ‘lost’ putter turned up at the side of the practice green. Jim won the ‘B’ flight but still wore the ‘silly hat’ There was a close countback for the ‘wig’ and it was ‘lucky’ Ray Cassar who wore it as one of the two lowest scores.

A nice breezy day, a nice course and, with no hold-ups, it was back to Links for early presentations and, with most bars closed, we guess it was off home.

A Day of Luxury at Chee Chan

Chee Chan was booked by a golf tour organizer for 60 Australian golfers. Then, with cancelled and re scheduled flights and closed borders, they could not get here. Phil suggested that a few of our golfers would take some of those tee times if they could have the special price. We put the sign-up sheet on the board and ended up with 41 players, many of whom had never played here before.

The new and grandiose clubhouse, similar in style to Pattana and Royal Lakeside, is all luxury and space, together with spectacular views over most of the course and the backdrop of the Mount with the Gold Buddha to the left and the skyline of Pattaya further right. The weather was hot, but very breezy for most of the round, which is possibly the reason for the lower than expected scores.

This course is in great condition with undulating fairways cut to have the ball sitting up waiting to be hit. The practice green was very slick but the greens on course were not quite that fast but ran very true.
Some names in the results list are new to Links Golf but all played well enough to be there.

The ‘A’ flight had Peter Williamson, returning after a long absence, come out on top of multiple countbacks to take the win with 36 points. Mark Penfold, the golf tour organizer in his first game with Links, took second spot, also 36 points followed by Kim Gueng Hwan, also his first time, in third place, also 36 points.

Hyun Jae Kang, one of a group of three visitors, grabbed the win in ‘B’ flight scoring, you guessed it, 36 points. Simon Niven, whose flight home was cancelled, came out to take second place on countback of 35 points to nudge out Derek Phillips who had one of his ‘good’ days.

Near Pins: Tony Browne (4), Huw Phillips (6), Keith Peplow (12), Bruno (17).
Best Front Nine (non-winners) …. Lawrence Lee….20 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) …...Paul Stewart ….20 pts

Because of the restrictions currently in place we decided to do something unusual. That was to conduct the presentations at the course. The ‘View’ restaurant is a large and ultra-modern venue, serving very nice food with cold drinks and attentive wait staff.

Peter Williamson was the Green Jacket winner, but we forgot to bring it with us. However, Peter had the photo op with Phil, and that’s almost as good.
Hopefully, when this virus situation is over, we can get some good pricing at Chee Chan and come here more often, plenty of people would really like that.

Unfortunately, this is the last competition golf report from us at Links Golf until competition at the golf courses is allowed to resume. We wish all of our golfers, wherever in the world you are, safe travels and stay healthy. Hope to see you all sooner rather than later.

 

April

Golf suspended

May

Tournament Golf suspended

June

Kevin LaBar takes the First Green Jacket

The weather forecast was for heavy rain in most of Chonburi and at 7.30 am this day we got it and more. There were two early arrivals at Links and together, as the rain became heavier, we wondered how many would want to cancel.
In the meantime, we phoned Pattavia to ask if they had rain. We were told ‘no rain now’, and so, at the scheduled departure time, everyone had arrived and took the chance.
En route to Pattavia, the sky looked anything but promising and light rain continued.
Upon entering the golf course gates, it stopped raining and stayed that way until all of our six groups had teed off.
It did drizzle for most of the round however, but all of our hardy golfers completed the 18 holes, the lead group, a three ball, finished in just three hours.
The course is in terrific condition with well grassed fairways and greens running true but, because they were a little wet, slowed just enough to make them manageable.
Golf journeyman, Kevin LaBar, is pretty consistent and today, with a big score of 40 points, won the Green Jacket, all dry cleaned and having its first outing since the lock down. Kev has grown a bit since last he wore it, but still made it fit.
Tommy Marshall is currently a #5 handicap and playing like that. He has had some really good scores in the past few weeks, most of them grossing in the 70’s.  Today’s 36 points got him second place.
John Harrison doesn’t play with us a lot, but when he does, is usually somewhere in the mix and today he was third with 35 points, getting the nod on a three-way countback.
One ‘near pin’ was left out in the elements and another had the plastic left off and drowned but, we managed to sort out some winners.
Near Pins: Peter Lacey, David McKey, Wayne Peppernell, Bill Copeland 
Best Front Nine (non-winners) – Martin Patch – 20 pts
Best Back Nine (non winners) – Connie Walsh – 17 pts c/back
At the first competition game after the enforced break things went smoothly enough but, near the end of day, there were a few hiccups, shall we say. There was some good fodder for the ‘silly hat’, but we will keep that in waiting for the next round.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone for defying the weather, and coming out to play at a beautiful golf course.

A Hard Slog at Eastern Star

A golf course in very good condition with well grassed fairways and greens running truly, and enough pace to see the ball run away if you missed a downhill putt. We played from the white tees, which are a little longer than we would play at most other courses and we played preferred lies, although that was hardly necessary except for some wet areas around the greens.

The weather was overcast but never threatened rain and there were some nice breezes during the day. So, why such low scores?

It seems that it was just one of those days when every one of our eighteen golfers made hard work of it, very hard work, judging by the scorecards.

Earlier in the week we held up Tony Browne as an example of what time and practice can do for your game, after he had scored 39 points. Today, however, the wheels fell off and he finished with just 20 points, but that was a long way from the worst score. The best score we could muster was 32 points, and that from Mike Firkin who won the day on countback over Bill Copeland’s 32 points. The next three placings all came in with 31 points and, after needing to go to the last six to separate them in a countback, saw Billy Buchanan in third spot followed by Karl Flood on his home ground and then, after a mix up was sorted, George Mueller took fifth place.

The ‘silly hat’ was decided early on when it was discovered that I had left the ‘near pin’ markers tightly locked up in the clubhouse and, later on, had plenty of reminders of my error.  With no near pins this had now changed the prizes to five placings.

Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Connie Walsh – 16 pts

Best Back Nine (non winners) – Mike Jeffreys  – 19 pts

This was the first opportunity for most of us to travel on the newly opened Highway 7 extension road and what a difference, not only cutting a chunk of time from the journey, with no traffic lights to contend with, and the traffic was sparse, which made for a comfortable ride and stress free for the driver.

Eastern Star has never been regarded as a high scoring course, but the results next time here will very likely be much better than today.

Take nothing away from Mike Firkin though, a win is a win.

Copeland by a Country Club Mile

We returned to Khao Kheow Country Club after a long absence, with 18 players keen to once again test themselves here, this time on the A and B nines.
The rain covers for the bags came out early but, even though cloud hung around throughout the round, they were never needed.

The course is in good condition with fairways well covered and the greens, as pretty much always here, running true and easy to putt on, if you are in form. The rough is not long but tough to get out of.

The procedures in place here for the covid-19 have apparently been eased and today the check-in was nice and easy, including a disinfecting ‘shower’.

At the start, carts were allowed to drive as far as the rough, but after about 4 or 5 holes the caddies had word that driving on fairways was okay.

Bill Copeland has been playing a lot of golf and has been very consistent. His scores are usually around handicap or better.
Today his 40 points left the rest of the field in his wake. Scoring for most wasn’t that easy, but Bill made it look easy and the Green Jacket was his to wear.

Walter Baechli hasn’t been able to travel the world lately, but he came to join us for this day and did very well to take second spot with 35 points and a couple of ‘near pins’

Another consistent golfer, Huw Phillips, an avid walker, had a good day out with 31 points for third place, and George Mueller didn’t think his score was great, but it was enough to get him fourth place.

Near Pins ‘A’ flight: Derek Phillips (x2), George Mueller, Billy Buchanan

Near Pins ‘B’ flight: Walter Baechli (x2), Wayne Peppernell. (one other pin unclaimed).

Placings

1st Place – Bill Copeland (10 ) - 40 pts
2nd Place – Walter Baechli (19) - 35 pts
3rd Place – Huw Phillips (13) - 31 pts
4th Place - George Mueller (13) – 30 pts

Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Martin Patch - 17 pts

Best Back Nine (non winners) – Tony Browne - 16 pts

For most of the six weeks or so since golf re started, we have seen very small numbers of players at most courses which has enabled us to play so called ‘ millionaire’s golf’. Today it seemed like back to the ‘old’ normal as we lined up behind a four ball with a five ball in front of them. Going was slow and, because we have been spoiled, there were some grumblings. However, under the current circumstances, this was probably a one off and all should return to ‘new’ normal again, at least until the tourists get back.

The Green Jacket for Derek Phillips

Since the time Derek Phillip’s handicap went down to a twelve, he has scored fairly consistently. He has had a couple of stinkers, but haven’t we all? A very good game today gave him 40 points and the Green Jacket. He reckoned that it had been a while since he wore it last.

Mike Firkin had one of his good days and his 37 points might have got him a win on another day, but he settled for second place. Tony Browne has the new swing working again so took third spot with 36 points to beat the consistent Huw Phillips, on countback. In fact, there was a three -way countback at 36 points where Karl Flood was the unlucky one to miss out.

Pattana is always a favourite and at the special price of 1350 bht all in, after 11.30 am, is first onto the schedule. The course is in very good condition and back to it’s best after the break, but, as there had been enough rain to dampen the course, carts had to stay on pathways and, of course, there was almost no run on the fairways.

The greens are as good as we expect here, except for three greens on the ‘B’ nine where it appears that some disease, or perhaps an accident, has caused some blotches and discolour. We are sure the grounds staff are working on it. The rough here is, as we have found at other courses recently, quite unforgiving, especially while it is wet.

It was a worry when a sprinkle of rain came about one hour after the start, but that quickly withdrew to create a mist over the background hills for the rest of the day.

Near Pins: Derek Phillips, Tip Briney, Tommy Marshall, Huw Phillips

Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Craig Webster - 20 pts c/back

Best Back Nine (non winners) – Mike Jeffreys - 18 pts

Although there were quite a few groups of golfers at the course, mainly Thai, they had later tee times and so our groups had a good open run for the round.

July

Tommy on Fire at Riverside

Bangpakong Riverside Golf Course was looking magnificent as we walked out from the clubhouse. From the steps is a green panoramic view where we can see multiple fairways and swaying palms on this almost flat course.

The day started out quite hot and with a large dark cloud hanging overhead. By about half way a breeze had picked up and then, near the end of the round, that cloud moved in, threatening rain, but we stayed dry. Thirteen Links golfers made the trip today as some others were resting up ready for the 3 day trip to Soi Dao starting the next day. We had only one four-ball ahead of us as the course was very quiet, although a few more locals arrived well after we had teed off.

Scoring is usually very good at this course so, to make things a little more difficult, the white tees were well back on many holes and the greens were slower than we would normally expect.

None of this bothered Tommy Marshall as he turned in a masterful display off his #5 handicap. His score of 40 points and best gross of 73 gave him a good win and the Green Jacket. Tommy’s playing partner, Peter Lacey, scored well with 38 points which took his handicap down by one shot, just in time for Soi Dao. Paul Durkan, now also playing off a #5 handicap, posted 37 points to beat the veteran, Barry Oats, on a very close countback.

Our first group, a three-ball, nearly set a new land speed record, completing the round in 2 hours 45 mins. Moxey was quite indignant when asked which holes they had skipped.??

With so few in numbers we had to leave the ‘near pins’ in the cupboard and have just three placings.

Most golf Societies are low on numbers for obvious reasons, but we expect to have a boost of at least another twelve players after those 'trippers' return.

Early July 4th for Bill Copeland

The weather provided a perfect day for golf on a superbly presented Pattavia Golf Course for our twelve Links Golf players.

Overcast all day with never a real threat of rain, but with some cooling breezes, made life very comfortable. There were almost no other golfers around, although we occasionally spotted a four ball through the trees, so our three groups had a clear run all the way. The greens are in first class condition and slowed enough to make some good putts, but still enough speed on the downhill to lip out, as our group can attest to.
The first cut rough here has been cut down, unlike some other courses recently, and is playable. The ball may not go where you want but,..

Bill Copeland, getting ready for his country’s July 4th Independence Day celebrations, scored 37 points for the win and another Green Jacket. It is less than two weeks ago that he did the same at Khao Kheow, so he has kept up that good form. The surprise packet today was Jim Ferris. Playing sparingly these days, Jim put together a terrific 35 points to take second spot. Billy Buchanan is usually playing around his handicap, and 33 points this time got him third place.
Because we had only twelve golfers, we left the ‘near pins’ home and added an extra placing. Unlucky Karl Flood lost his second countback in a week, scoring 31 points but going down to Huw Phillips’ 31 points for fourth.

Now that the Soi Dao ‘trippers’ are back, we have more names on the sign-up sheets for the next few games, which is good news, but still waiting for our visitors from overseas to be allowed back. Hang in there, Gents, and Ladies.

It's Been a Long Way to the Top for Tip

One thing that Tip Briney has is willpower. For week after week he could barely hit the driver past the ladies’ tee. Then he changed to a four iron, which was better, but short lived. Throughout this long and frustrating period, that would have taken down lesser men, he kept smiling, hoping that things would improve. Then, like a bolt from above, he started to hit the driver again and, after playing well on the Soi Dao trip, today he ran up 39 points to win again, at last, and a long awaited Green Jacket.
Mike Jeffreys has been playing steady golf and his 37 points was a very good effort to beat his travelling buddy, Lawrie McBride, in a close countback for second place.

Twelve golfers, in three four balls, all managed to get around in good time. The first group finished in 3hrs 45 mins, quite slow for them, but they did have a couple of other groups ahead of them. The weather stayed fine and dry with just some small breezes to break up the heat.

We have missed out on the ‘best nines’ for a few games due to lack of players, but bought that segment back today.

Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Steve Moxey - 20 pts

Best Back Nine (non winners) – Mike Firkin - 17 pts c/back

The place-getters or, in fact, all of the twelve golfers handled the course conditions very well.

We don’t feel comfortable criticising these courses but, really, Pleasant Valley can do much better than they did today. There seems to be a problem with the greens as they were patchy and sanded and just didn’t play well. This is not the only course with greens problems currently, why? The fairways were nicely mown and played okay, while some tee boxes are being renovated.

We paid the inexplicable ‘holiday rate’ of 1800 bht all-in, but the surprise came, for the walkers at least, when they were told that carts were compulsory, at Pleasant Valley? Really?

There are other courses in better condition, at the moment, and for a cheaper price, even at the ‘holiday rate’, and not compulsory carts. We are booked here for next month and looking forward to the improvements we are sure will come.

 

Tip Briney Finds the Magic Elixir

Now that he’s found it, he won’t let it go. Tip Briney has scored his third win in a row. After Soi Dao last week and then on Monday at Pleasant Valley, today he has romped in with a huge 43 points to easily win the Green Jacket.

This time around we kept him awake long enough to get an up to date photo of him in the Jacket. The big win by Tip left a gap to the next places and here we had a four- way tie on 35 points. Multiple countbacks resulted in Tommy Marshall taking second spot with a better back nine than third placed Bill Copeland, who then had a better back nine to push Paul Durkan into fourth.

We only went to four placings, so Mike Jeffreys was the unlucky one to miss.
Not too unlucky though as he won ‘best front nine’ with 21 points. Pity his scoring fell off on the second nine.

We arrived at Greenwood fairly early and by the time we got to the mustering area, Tommy Marshall had asked for and got us a two- tee start. The starter then told us to go when ready, so the first groups teed off about 25 minutes earlier than scheduled. As expected, the fairways were damp and had little run, so lift, clean and place was the order. Fairways, otherwise, are in good condition and the greens also, as usual here, although perhaps a tad slower than we normally expect.

Near Pins: Tom Herrington, Paul Durkan, Lawrie McBride, (the fourth pin not claimed.) Best Front Nine( non winners) – Mike Jeffreys - 21 pts. Best Back Nine (non winners) – Mike Firkin - 18 pts

We came to Greenwood where 15 of our 23 players had rain checks from two weeks before. Today, the dark clouds and ominous forecast had some in the bus wondering if we could get a rain check on a rain check? Happily, we didn’t need to ask that question, although a similar dark cloud that washed us out last time hung overhead most of the round.

George Ploughs Through the Wet

At our previous visit to play the A+B nines at Pattana, many of the players remarked on the poor condition of some of the B9 greens. Reports before this game from a good golfer friend of ours, who had played the day before, suggested that they had not improved, but maybe gone down a bit more.

We started on the A course where we found this nine to be in excellent condition with beautiful fairways, typically very good greens and, at last, that rough had been cut back. We were making good time, as carts were allowed on the fairways, and then, as our group teed off on the ninth hole, the heavens opened and the lightning warning siren sounded, to have us heading for cover. The break lasted just over an hour, then we went out to complete the ninth.

It was when we reached the B1 green that the report was seen to be accurate, in that it was quite pock-marked, although not unplayable. The same for all other greens on this nine with variations on the quantity and size of the marks. Players were able to lift the ball away from areas they deemed not puttable, but otherwise the greens played okay. The fairways on this nine are very good, but the rough hasn’t yet been cut down.
We have since been informed that the B course will close on 17 Aug, for renovations, with the C course re-opening. In the meantime, some repairs will be done.

The rain break had winners and losers as some players, who were scoring well, lost their mojo and slumped, while others relished the now wet course. George Mueller was one of those and scored an even 17 and 18 for 35 points and the win. Tommy Marshall slumped a little, with 19 front and 14 back, but 33 points was enough for second place. Tom Herrington won a three-way countback for third by having a 19 point back nine in a total of 32 points. Mike Firkin had 32 points but settled for fourth spot with a still very good back nine of 18 points.

Wednesday’s bolter, Tip Briney, came back to the field and was the only one with 32 points to miss out. Best front nine ( non winners) – Tony Brown – 20 pts Best back nine (non winners) – Darren Beavers - 17 pts

Even with the problem greens and the rain, this is still a favourite course for our golfers, and the news gets better. Pattana management have now made the special price of 1350 bht all-in available without having an after 11.30 am start. This will occur from Jul.15. Consequently, we have changed our tee time for July 29 to 10.00 am, a much nicer idea. We also have a booking for Aug.10 with a tee time of 9.52 am.

Craig Webster Rolls Out 43 Points

Only days ago, Tip Briney, while he was on a roll, handed in a score of 43 points. Well, here is another 43 points, this time from Craig Webster.

Craig plays with a couple of Societies and has been posting some okay to good scores, but this one has been waiting to be let loose and what better place to do it than beautiful Laem Chabang. He had a big day, as he also picked up two near pins to add to the tally.

This course never fails to impress and, once again, all aspects of the course were just about perfect. We played lift, clean and place, but it was hardly necessary as the fairways are smooth and with good run.

The dark clouds that seem to be hanging about were present all day, and even managed a one minute sprinkle of rain during the first nine. Near the end of the round, though, the heavens became noisy as thunder rolled and some lightning flashes were spotted. It then became touch and go if all groups would make it in before the rain came.

Good news! they did, and we saw no rain except for a few spots on the windscreen during the drive home.

Steve Moxey had a one shot increase in his handicap this week and took advantage by scoring 36 points to take second place behind Craig. Then came another three-way tie on 35 points, with Darren Beavers just edging out Paul Durkan for third spot. Paul, in turn, took fourth place ahead of Walter Baechli.

However, Walter didn’t miss out as he had the best front nine (non winners) with a solid 19 points, and Len Jones had best back nine (non winners) with 17 points.

Near Pins: Peter Lacey, Craig Webster (x2). Best front nine ( non winners) – Walter Baechli – 19 pts. Best back nine (non winners) – Len Jones - 17 pts

It seems like plenty of our Links golfers enjoy playing this course, so will be back for another nice day out on this top course in two weeks from now, July 27. Don’t miss it.

Finally, Another Green Jacket for Peter Lacey

We suppose some golfers have their reasons why they sometimes shun Bangpakong Riverside golf course. Most often the excuse is that it is too far to travel. Might be worth checking the GPS sometime. However, we are always presented with a course in beautiful condition, with nicely cut fairways, greens that never seem to change in looks or pace, and rough that doesn’t cause much trouble. Add to this, we currently have the great price of 1650 bht all-in, with vouchers.

Peter Lacey has been waiting for another Green Jacket since December last year. Today he came out and made full use of the conditions, and his extra handicap shot, to score a terrific 39 points and grab the first spot, and of course, the Jacket.

Billy Buchanan reckoned he had lost form so badly that he needed some time off. He took only a week or so, but it worked out pretty well for him by scoring 38 points in taking second place. Tip Briney, still playing well, and George Mueller both scored 35 points, but Tip had a better second nine to take the countback for the final podium place.

We could muster only 11 players today, so we had to leave the ‘near pins’ in the cupboard and have just the three placings.

Tip Briney had a good round then stepped into the shower and soaped himself all over ( please don’t try to picture that). Turned on the tap to rinse off and zilch, nil water. After what seemed like 10 minutes, although possibly less than that, calling at the top of his lungs for someone to bring water, an attendant came with a bucket of water for Tip to finish his shower. That’s his good excuse for keeping his mates waiting.

 

Is Mike an Eastern Star Specialist?

It is just on a month ago that we last visited Eastern Star and on that day the winner was Mike Firkin. It seems that this course agrees with him as he is the Green Jacket winner again today.

He scored only 32 points that day to win on countback, but this time he made sure of it with a terrific 38 points on what was a difficult track. Lawrie McBride came back to some form to score 37 points to take second place on countback from Tip Briney, who is still hitting them well and reducing his handicap. There was another player with 37 points, that was Bill Copeland, but he missed a podium place. However, he did have the best front nine score of 19 points, so not all was lost. Craig Webster had an ordinary front nine but came back to his real form with 23 points to have the best back nine score.

The course today was in good condition as there has been some rain around, of course, with fairways grassed and cut nicely. The greens, however, were difficult and not quite up to the standard we normally get here. The weather for much of the round was a bright blue sky with some puffy white clouds about so, consequently, it was quite a hot day. Tony Browne walked, as usual, and he was still puffing and recovering in the bus on the way back, not usual for him.

Best front nine ( non winners) – Bill Copeland - 19 pts

Best back nine (non winners) – Craig Webster - 23 pts

The scores were much better than last time and, in fact, better than we usually expect here at this deceptively difficult course. But, to give away a secret. We did play from the short yellow tees, just to give our eleven golfers an easy day. Not sure if that is why the good scores, or if everyone happened to find some good form.

Miss On - Can Caddy and Play Golf

Kevin LaBar Scores a Hole-in-One

Fourteen players descended on Pattavia Golf Course today on a cloudy but fine, warm morning. The course was in the usual very good condition and ‘those’ greens are still as tame as we left them a couple of weeks back. Don’t be fooled though, there is still two putt back with a miss on the downhill.

Kevin LaBar and his Caddie from Laem Chabang, On Phisetrit, get to have a game of golf together occasionally and today turned out to be an exceptional day for both. Miss On, who plays off a handicap of 16 started slowly, with a one point, then a no point ‘blob’, but the next was two points and away she went. By the end of the round she had put together 38 points to beat the ‘boys’. She would have worn the Green Jacket except that she had to run away to play another 18 holes on another course. Does she like a game of golf?

Kevin was, of course, in the same group and at the par 3 fourth scored his second ever hole-in-one. He admitted that the stroke wasn’t what was intended. A nine iron was supposed to go to the back of the green, but a very ‘thin’ hit had it going like a missile down low, hit something solid on the green, and rolled back to the hole. Doesn’t matter how you get them Kev.

Billy Buchanan kept up his form after a rest to score 37 points to take second spot ahead of a solid show from Tony Browne on 36 points.
Paul Durkan was again in the mix to grab fourth place with 33 points from his handicap of #4. Best Front Nine ( non winners) – Mike Tottenham - 20 pts. Best Back Nine (non winners) – Walter Ellicott - 21 pts

The assorted gifts from Pattavia Century for the hole-in-one included a plaque and certificate, a voucher to pay just 200 baht green fee for one year and, being a Chang course, a Tower of Chang beer.

Problem here was that this came out as the bus was in the loading area with all but one passenger on board, Kevin. We held the bus for a few minutes during which time Kevin made a valiant attempt at the lowering the tide of the Tower. A happy man nevertheless and did not fail to ‘ring the bell’ back at Links.

A surprise heavy rain shower swept across the course late in the round, catching all but the first group. That group watched from the clubhouse as the next three groups, including the winner, On, kept playing and were drenched, but undeterred. A job well done.

Lacey Wins for a Second Time in a Week

Peter Lacey is our latest player showing some good form. It is just one week ago that he donned his first Green Jacket in a long time and has now followed it up with another very good score of 37 points to win the day again.

Tip Briney is continuing on, now that he has the driver under control. His 36 points has given him second placing, this time with no countbacks. He may be taking a close look at the handicap sheet.

Speaking of good form, Paul Durkan is surprising himself with the run he has been having. Let’s not forget, though, he is a very good golfer with handicap hovering around 3 or 4 at the moment. Paul scored 35 points for third place and best gross of 77, from handicap #4.

Another single figure handicapper who has had some good rounds recently is Tommy Marshall. Today he won a countback from Mike Jeffreys, both having 34 points, but Tommy had the better back nine to take fourth.

The scores from these players was even better than they looked as, just after all groups were into the second nine, the sky became noisy with rolling thunder followed by a heavy downpour which had players sheltering for nearly 40 minutes.

Obviously, the ground became heavier and, playing from the white tees and now with no run, the game became harder. The greens were a little slower after the rain, but were still in very good condition and played well.

Some players didn’t mind the dampness but Craig Webster, having scored 20 points on the first nine, scored only 8 points on the back so, maybe, the wet is not his thing.

Near pins : Peter Lacey, Craig Webster, Tommy Marshall, one pin unclaimed.

Best front nine ( non winners) – Craig Webster - 20 pts

Best bacvk nine (non winners) – Derek Phillips - 17 pts

The rain was pretty much widespread, as we saw photos of parts of Pattaya that were flooding at the same time as we were sheltering at Greenwood.

When we play an outdoor game in the rainy season this is expected and accepted as part of golf. Our nineteen intrepid golfers carried on to the final hole with nobody giving it up, well done all.

The new lane of the 331 being built which crosses the entry into Greenwood is currently a bit dicey for a mini bus to cross, but with the rain turning it to mud we had visions of getting out to push, but our driver, Mr. Pop, had it well under control and we continued on a smooth ride home, albeit a little later than we have been recently.

Another Wet Day, No Problem for Tommy

Another Hole-in-One - Laurie McBride Aces

It was the Tommy and Lawrie Show at Khao Kheow on this day.

Tommy Marshall (handicap 5) used great course management to overcome playing from the shorter white tees, a rain delay, and then wet fairways, to score an impressive 39 points (74 gross), for his second Green Jacket in less than a month. Lawrie McBride finished second with another very good score, under the conditions, of 36 points, including his very first Hole-in-One. This came on the par 3, C3 hole at 138 yards. Lawrie hit the six iron with his typically high shot which landed on the green and ran about four feet to the hole and threw itself in. The greens here are in very good condition and had just the amount of run needed. In his words though, this is the first one in 40 years of playing golf. Lawrie was obviously pleased and asked me to phone ahead to Links to be sure that those who arrived back before him received a drink on his bin. There were more placings. Peter Lacey, the winner on Wednesday, continued on to get 34 points for third. Craig Webster kept it together for 18 holes this time to grab fourth spot on countback with 33 points. George Mueller also had 33 points, missed the countback, but had best front nine of 20 points. Karl Flood beat a couple of others on countback for best back nine of 16 points.

Once again, the rain caught us out. First the thunder, then the lightning very close, followed by the rain. Although most agreed this was not as heavy as experienced on Wednesday, it was enough to delay play for about an hour. Best front nine (non winners) – George Mueller - 20 pts Best back nine (non winners) – Karl Flood - 16 pts c/back

It’s been a big week for the elusive hole-in-one.
Kevin LaBar on Monday and Lawrie on Friday. There were, in fact, three Links golfers who achieved the hole-in-one. On the same day that Kevin, playing a scheduled Links game at Pattavia, had his, Tommy Marshall, playing in another group at Laem Chabang, also scored an ace.

Is there a trend happening? We look forward to our next game and, who knows ??

Craig Webster - Two in a Row at Laem Chabang

They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it has for Kiwi, Craig Webster, in his second win in two visits to Laem Chabang. Just two weeks ago, at our last trip here, he ran away with it, scoring 43 points.

There was no lightning during the round this time, unlike the past few of our games, but the fairways, still looking like laid carpet, were found to be surprisingly wet, hence there was pretty much no run. That makes Craig’s winning score of 39 points look even better.

Peter Lacey, who has worn the Green Jacket a couple of times in the past week or so, played really well again with a creditable score of 37 points for second place. Paul Durkan is making a habit of finishing in the placings with another third spot today, but just out of reach of that Green Jacket that he wants. Paul scored 35 points from his inflated handicap of #5 to win a countback from Derek Phillips, who would be happy with that score.

At Links, we have prizes for the best nines. These are for any player who has not already won something else. Today, Glen Elsworth won best front nine with 18 points. Mike Firkin won best back nine with…wait for it…26 points, and did not finish in the placings, mmm.

Dark clouds hung about all day without ever looking threatening and, at last, we did stay dry. A nice breeze kept up most of the time, so a good day out for all on a top course.

Near Pins: Peter Lacey, Bill Copeland (x2), Karl Flood Best front nine ( non winners) – Glen Elsworth – 18 pts Best back nine (non winners) – Mike Firkin - 26 pts

Our next game is at Emerald on Wednesday. We were advised by the course originally booked that it was a public holiday and surprised to be told that, no, it is holiday, pay holiday price. The same question three times, but same answer, so we cancelled. At 1050 bht all-in at Emerald, off we go.

In this current situation in Thailand, and the world, it amazes me, and others, that some of these courses, who have a decided lack of customers, would stick to this insane idea of increasing prices, because of a public holiday. The few golfers around have plenty of options, and that is going to be the way for some time yet.

As a footnote: Laem Chabang, today, charged the booked price of 2059 bht all-in, no holiday pricing.

Mike Firkin Knows Emerald Well


Mike Firkin and Len Jones have been going to Emerald for a hit and some ‘spying’, and they report that this once shunned, Nick Faldo designed course, is making a comeback under new owners.So, when the course that we had originally booked wanted to charge us the crazy ‘holiday price’, we cancelled and made a quick decision to book Emerald.
How would the golfers accept the change? Very well was the answer, when 16 players signed up to give us four groups.

Now, being a player with the most recent experience at the course, Mike Firkin knew his way around and cemented a good win with 38 points, his third win inside six weeks. It seems he is doing some fitness stuff as well, that could help.

Billy Buchanan found some of his lost form to come in with 36 points for second spot, and a much happier man.
George Mueller has had a couple of ordinary scores recently, but 34 points today was a good result and gave him third place.

Steve Moxey had 21 points on the back nine included in his score of 32 points, which gave him the countback over Darren Beavers for the remaining podium spot.

However, Darren did win the ‘best back nine’ and Tony Browne the ‘best front nine. Best front nine ( non winners) – Tony Browne – 19 pts. Best back nine (non winners) – Darren Beavers - 18 pts

New management is doing a lot of work on the course and now have the fairways well grassed and cut nicely and there seems to be some trees missing as well. The greens are a work in progress with a fair bit of sand on many of them, but, according to our ‘spies’, they have been improving each week.

The weather for today saw plenty of cloud hanging around but mostly white with a grey tinge, A nice breeze, stronger at times, made for a comfortable round.

Emerald is running special pricing at the moment and we paid just 1050 bht all-in and, with a quicker trip using the new motorway extension, how could you refuse?,

During the bus trip home, some asked when we would be back here, This is a sign that the golfers enjoyed their day at Emerald, some of whom had just played there for the first time.

Craig Adds to his List

Unfortunately, it is the way things are right now, but Eastern Star Golf Course was as quiet as we have seen it on a Friday. Apart from our group of sixteen players and another group of similar numbers, we saw only a couple of two balls and some local players.

The weather stayed fine and warm with the occasional breeze. We played lift, clean and place, although it was hardly needed.

Fairways are in good condition with plenty of run. The greens are quite hard and difficult to stop the ball running too far. Many had been sanded recently but still played truly, although a missed downhill putt could cause another two putts back.

Craig Webster added another course to his list of wins, this time a solid 37 points which, on this course and this day, is a very good score. His handicap has been lowered a notch. Wayne Peppernell was going to give the game away a couple weeks ago, but he is on the comeback trail and grabbed second spot here with a decent 34 points. Prolific Green Jacket wearer, Mike Firkin, was still in the mix with 33 points for third place. Once again, a big back nine, this time it was 22 points. Tom Herrington rounded out the podium with 32 points.

Not many players but we still managed two near pins: Near Pins : Tip Briney (3) and Darren Beavers (13)

Best front nine ( non winners) – Steve Moxey - 15 pts. Best back nine (non winners) – George Mueller - 20 pts

Travelling by car on the new Motorway 7 extension, one of our players didn’t notice that the free tolls, for the holidays, had finished and drove straight through, with the obvious result of a broken gate. He was quickly able to repair it and be on his way with no further ado.

 

August

Wayne Wins on Top Day at Bangpra

The Links golfers returned to Bangpra after too long an absence, but now with a terrific sports day price of 1450 bht all- in, it was time for another look. As this course is quite suitable for walkers, they were also happy with their price of 1150 bht. We found the course to be in excellent condition with nicely cut fairways and greens in the condition we nearly always found over the years, albeit a little slower than the lightning quick style of some years ago. Don’t worry, once the players worked that out, they were quite happy for some less pace.
The weather was just right for a golf day. Overcast skies all day and relatively cooler, but never looking like rain. A nice breeze, at times quite strong, made for a comfortable round.
As things are now, there were no other groups around when we arrived so the starter told us to go when ready. Consequently, our first group, a three-ball, took off about 30 minutes before our scheduled time, and completed the round in three and a half hours.
One of those in that group, Wayne Peppernell, continued the form revival started a couple of days ago, to take out first place with a good, solid 37 points and his first Green Jacket since about January. (don’t forget, we lost a couple of months golf in between). Mike Tottenham has had his handicap blow out a bit, but showed some of what he can do by scoring 35 points, to take second place on countback over consistent Craig Webster. Lawrie McBride has been out of the placings recently, but he is back with a score of 34 points for the fourth spot. For the second game straight, Steve Moxey had the best front nine score, this time it was 19 points. Tony Browne won a countback over a playing partner to have best back nine of 18 points. Best front nine (non winners) – Steve Moxey - 19 pts. Best back nine (non winners) – Tony Browne - 18 pts c/back
Many of the golfers, some of whom had never been here before, commented how much they enjoyed the course, and the day overall, and now looking forward to getting back here in September.

Young Guns Lead in Dad’s Army


Burapha Golf Club is running a fantastic special deal for senior golfers (over 60 yrs) at just 1250 bht for g/fee, caddie and cart, a price we never thought we would see again at this course. With this in mind, we had our biggest turnout of players for quite a few weeks.
Twenty- four starters lined up to play the A and B combination. Of those twenty-four, only six admitted to being under 60 yrs, but we had g/fee vouchers for them at 700 bht. so, fair to say, with tongue firmly in cheek, that we did have a veritable Dad’s Army today.
The weather was almost identical to Monday, with skies in various shades of grey and a nice, relatively cool, breeze all day.
This course is preparing for the Singha Pattaya Open and is in immaculate condition. The greens are in the final stage of preparation and have quite a bit of sand on them, but still played true, if not so quick, and the rough is left to grow high normally, and even more so for a tournament.
The ‘young guns’ led the way to the podium with the first two placings going to players under age 60. Craig Webster seems unstoppable, or until the handicapper catches up, and had another resounding victory by scoring a big 41 points and another Green Jacket. Then followed two recent Green Jacket winners, both on 39 points. Mike Firkin did better on the back nine, as he tends to do, to win a countback over Wayne Peppernell, who is still tracking well on the comeback. Any other day 39 points might have been good enough. Indeed, so would 38 points, but that only got Tony Browne fourth place.
Having more players out enabled us to have extra prizes, so we doubled up on the ‘near pins’, by splitting them into two flights.
Near Pins A flight: Bill Copeland, Wayne Peppernell, Craig Webster
Near Pins B flight: Walter Baechli, Peter Allen, Serge Straeten
We had extra pins out but two were unclaimed.
Best front nine (non winners) – Glen Elsworth - 19 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Derek Phillips - 21 pts c/back
With the course in such good condition, we saw eight scores of 36 or more and then, an interesting observation. Seventeen of the twenty- four players had higher scores on the back nine than the front. The ‘B’ course must be easier? Or did it take that long to warm up?
This is always a top course and, at this special price for ‘oldies’, we will be taking advantage again on Aug.26, so join the ‘Army’.

 

Forty Points is not Enough

Rain drizzled from early morning and continued as we gathered at Links Bar for breakfast. A phone call came from one of our cars as the bus started the trip to Khao Kheow, informing us that the rain was very heavy further along the motorway, and asking if the golf would still be on? However, by the time we arrived, the rain had stopped and never returned for the whole of the round. Low cloud hung around the background hills all day, looking quite scenic, but never threatening.
Indications were that the course was wet and, as the carts were restricted to the path, we decided to play lift, clean and place, as there was probably little or no run. That assumption proved to be wrong as the fairways are in very good condition and not as wet as imagined and, in fact, carts were given the all clear to go on the fairways after we had completed the first hole on the ‘C’ course.
OK, we did play from the shorter white tees, just in case, and the golfers took complete advantage of that. Scoring was so prolific today that 40 points didn’t get you into one of the top three placings, and 11 of the 12 players scored 33 points or better. Sounds more like we are talking Bangpakong!
Craig Webster came in with 43 points to take the win. George Mueller has been on the up recently and grabbed second place with a handsome 42 points while the ‘comeback kid’, Wayne Peppernell, reckoned that 41 points would get him another Green Jacket, but not today. Great scoring from the placegetters, and also from Mike Jeffreys, who’s mere 40 points saw him just miss out. Tip Briney scored 20 points to win the best front nine and, although he had a good final score, it was not enough for a place on the podium. Likewise Mike Tottenham, who came home with 21 points to win the best back nine.
The ‘A’ course greens today were the usual very good and true running greens, but something is happening on the ‘C’ nine greens. Black patches, some browning, and some have sand covering the spoiled bits, not the usual, and the tee boxes look as if they are being renovated, again.
Maintenance has to be done, but we still had a terrific course presented to us.
After fielding six groups on Wednesday, things were a bit quieter today with only three groups. The round was a little slowed by a six ball up ahead but all finished in about four and a half hours.

First Green Jacket for Huw in “New Normal”


Now that Pattana Golf Club is offering the all-in price of 1350 bht at any time, rather than after 11.30 am, as previously, we had a good roll out of nineteen golfers.
The weather today had us fooled. Before departing Links, the sky was blue and the sun shining, and looked as if we were in for a hot day. However, by the time we stood on the first tee at Pattana, the sky had turned to the, now, familiar dark grey clouds. With nice breezes all day and no rain, it was a comfortable round of golf.
Our first group, a three-ball, got away about 10 minutes before the scheduled time and set a good pace up front. We played the A+B nines again and found the fairways in beautiful condition which contributed towards some very good scoring. The rough, although not high, was dense and very difficult to play from.
What happened to the ‘A’ nine greens? At our last visit, we commented on how good they were and that the ‘B’ nine greens were very patchy. Now the ‘B nine seems to be under repair and the ‘A’ nine greens have gone downhill, with brown areas, some holes, and sanded. What a shame. Let’s hope the greenkeeper can get them back the way we like them, soon.
Huw Phillips has had some good scores recently and, finally, today had his best score and first Green Jacket since we started the ‘new normal’ in May. Huw was almost the last card to come in and before it did, it looked as if Craig Webster had scored another win. This time he was pipped at the post, with Huw returning a great 41 points, while Craig had another impressive 40 points. Mike Jeffreys had 40 points last Friday and missed a podium place, but today his solid 38 points got him third spot. Martin Patch has been getting some coaching, and now, that looks to be paying off as he came in fourth with a credible 37 points.
Near Pins: Glen Elsworth (A3), Mike Jeffreys (A8), Tommy Marshall (B3), Wayne Peppernell (B7).
Best front nine (non winners) – Derek Phillips – 23 pts. Best back nine (non winners) – Steve Moxey - 20 pts
Pattana is always a favourite and everyone looks forward to our next visit when, I’m sure, the greens will be back to the way we have always known them. Only Wayne from our group, won something today, but that didn’t matter because we had a lot of fun and a nice day of golf.

 

Tommy Marshall Wins with Gross 73


We were wondering if the sky above Greenwood is painted on, as it seems that for the past few visits, over a few weeks, it has had the same overcast, grey colour with darker clouds, mmm. However, as per the past few rounds, it did not rain on the course, at least not while we were there.
Needless to say, the Greenwood course, where we played C and B nines, is in terrific condition with well grassed fairways and the greens superb, albeit a little slower than normally found here. The rough is just that, and difficult to hit out of, but most courses are the same at present.
After seeing scores in the forties over the last three rounds, it was surprising, considering the condition of the course and the enjoyable weather, to see only two of our 14 players make handicap or better.
The stand out, by far, was Tommy Marshall who scorched around the course, recording a gross of 73 (from his new handicap of #4), which was 39 stableford points, a fine win and another Green Jacket. It was one week ago that George Mueller scored 42 points at Khao Kheow. He, along with others, couldn’t quite match that today, but his 36 points is a very good score on a low scoring day, and took him to second place, and a continuation of good form. Karl Flood wasn’t too excited about scoring 33 points, but it was enough to get him third spot and then Tom Herrington, scoring 32 points, and even less excited, took fourth place on a countback over Mike Jeffreys.
However, as often happens, Mike had best front nine of 20 points. Billy Buchanan took some solace by winning best back nine with 19 points.
Best front nine (non winners) – Mike Jeffreys - 20 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Billy Buchanan - 19 pts
For the interest of our readers who are not currently in Pattaya, sorry. After being back at Links Bar for about an hour, the heavens darkened and then we had a 'belter' of a storm with heaps of rain and strong, gusty winds. Seems we got lucky again and stayed dry.

Moxey Makes a Big Comeback

Laem Chabang was looking a picture as our sixteen golfers made their way to the first tee. We would play the B and C nines on a perfect golf course and, once again, in perfect golfing weather. The fairways here are beautiful and the grounds staff were busy keeping them even more well]-trimmed and manicured. There were plenty of compliments for the greens also. However, with everything done that the greenkeeper could do, it was, as suggested by some, a fairly hard day. It happens that way sometimes. It was slow going at times as, for a rare time, we didn’t have the course to ourselves, which may account for the lower scores, certainly lower than our last visit here.
Steve Moxey has been down to an eight handicap, so he can play a bit, but that handicap has been slipping somewhat over a couple of months and today he played off a handicap of # 11. But that old game started to return as he has grabbed his first win since having a run of wins earlier in the year. 38 points got Moxey a good win on a tough day. We thought Darren Beavers had left town to move to Surin, and he had. But he had some things to do in Pattaya so he signed on for a game at Laem Chabang with his buddy, Colin Service. He has played some rounds at Surin, so found good form to grab second spot with a solid 37 points. Ever reliable, Paul Durkan filled third place with 34 points off his generous handicap of #5. We are pretty sure that when Paul steps out, he will be in the mix somewhere.
Near Pins Wayne Peppernell, Paul Durkan (x2), Steve Moxey
Best front nine (non winners) – Mike Firkin – 18 pts c/back
Best back nine (non winners) – Mike Jeffreys - 17 pts c/back

George Wins a Countback

Heavy rain in Pattaya in the morning brought the usual question of whether golf would go ahead. A couple of phone calls to Eastern Star confirmed the theory that it may not be raining at the course. So, with one no show, we set off with just eight players, which was five more than we had two days previously, oh joy.
The fairways here are in very good condition and the rough is, as most courses now, deep and difficult. But, oh, the greens. What happened? Lots of sand stopped the roll pretty quickly and there are some dark patches on many of them. Let’s hope that this is just a renovation process.
Only two placings available today and the decision went down to the wire.
George Mueller scored 40 points, including 23 points on the back nine to edge out Billy Buchanan, with 21 points on the back nine. Wayne Peppernell and Peter Allen both had scores of handicap or better, but on this day, missed out on a place.
We played from the short yellow tees in case there was no run after the rains. As it turned out, there was plenty of run, hence the very good scores, or maybe it was good golfing.

It’s the Firkin and Durkan Show

Standing on the first tee at Royal Lakeside, Mike Firkin predicted that, after today, his handicap would go back down. We all say that, in hope, but for Mike, that is what happened.
A terrific 43 points gave him a clear win and his fourth Green Jacket since coming back after the lockdown. Firkin and Durkan love hearing that combination and this time it was a one- two. Paul Durkan, his handicap somehow getting out to #6, shot a 73 gross for a stableford score of 41 points and ‘only’ second place. Tommy Marshall has been consistent lately and has filled third spot with a good 38 points from his #5 handicap. Bob Strutt, also a single figure handicap, came from the boonies of Udon Thani for a quick visit and acquitted himself very well for his first time at Lakeside for three years or more. He just missed a place on the podium and then was beaten on countback for ‘best back nine’. Billy Buchanan won that one with 19 points, and then, Peter Allen had ‘best front nine’, also with 19 points.
The weather today was nice for golf, with a blue sky, some white, fluffy, clouds and a nice breeze most of the round.
The golf course was, as always, presented in top condition and, although carts kept to the paths because of some dampness on the fairways, there was still good run available on most, and lift, clean and place was available to players. The greens were a bit different to the usual, as they are quite hard and difficult to make the ball grab. Our players stayed just ahead of the grounds staff, who were doing some light sanding of the greens.
It is so sad that, here we had this beautiful golf course, and it seemed that our 13 players were the only customers, at least in the five hours or so that we were at the premises. As more golfers find a way to get back to their home country, numbers are dwindling. A regular caddie of mine, at another course, told me that she was number four in the queue for two days and never got a job. That is quieter than quiet.
Nobody knows the answer on how to fix this, unfortunately.

 

Paul Durkan Wins “Phil McClure Memorial Trophy"

A group that had played the C+D combination at Burapha a day earlier gave us a not too flattering report on the condition of the course. However, it was true that the rough was very difficult, or near impossible to play out of successfully, but the fairways were found in good condition and the greens played well, although there were a couple that, for whatever reason, were much slower than others.
The weather was pleasant and our first group, one of three three-balls, moved along quickly. By the 15th tee, they had caught up to a group of local players who had started their round about 2 hours ahead of us. All was well, no hold-ups.
Today was a special day for some players who were mates of fellow golfer, Phil McClure, who, sadly, passed away in Astralia two years ago. His good mate, Gary Bolger, comes from Udon Thani each year with a donation, left by Phil, for the players to have a nice day of golf.
What else can we say about Paul Durkan’s golf game? It just keeps on keeping on. On a course not in great condition, Paul has maintained a very long run of form and his 36 points was better than that number. He has won the day, and his name will now be added to the very smart looking ‘Phil McClure’ trophy. Mike Jeffreys has very quietly been having some good scores lately without being in the placings. Today, a very solid 35 points had him right near the top. Mike Tottenham had a few wins today, with a ‘near pin’ and a ‘long drive’ and then 34 points got him third spot, while Tony Browne won a three-way countback to take fourth place with 33 points.
We had plenty of scope for extra prizes so added a few ‘pins’ that we don’t normally do.
Near Pins Bill Copeland (C5, D8), Mike Tottenham (C8), Huw Phillips (D2).
Near Pin 2nd Shot: Bob Strutt (C4)
Near Pin 3rd Shot: Paul Durkan (C7)
Long Drive “A” Flight (0-18): Steve Moxey (D9)
Long Drive “B” Flight: (19+) : Mike Tottenham (D4)
Best front nine: (non winners) – Martin Patch - 17 pts
Best back nine: (non winners) – Wayne Peppernell - 18 pts
Seventeen players came out today, a good number considering how very quiet it is in Pattaya, and at the golf courses.  As part of Phil’s generous donation, Gary asked Joy to make some food for the returning players. Those nice meatballs, chicken wings and salad went down well, and quickly.

(Thanks John Anderson)

 

Billy Buchanan Does a Bolt

The day was slightly overcast as eight players headed for Pleasant Valley, and it stayed that way for the rest of the day, with a nice breeze most of the time. The course was in good condition with the fairways well grassed and looking good. The rough is the same as most of our recent courses, long, thick and difficult to find the ball. I know, you shouldn’t be in there.
The greens are patchy and, it seems, having the same problems as many other courses are having currently. Staff were sanding them as we played.
Billy Buchanan had a horror stretch a couple of weeks ago and took some time off to regroup. On his return, a couple of good scores and then, today, he blew it away with a great 43 points, which he says is his best round for a long time.
Having only eight players, we had two placings and it was a tight countback between playing partners, Bill Copeland and George Mueller. Both had 37 points but Bill had the better back nine to take that second spot.
It was one of those rare occasions, these days, to have other groups ahead of us. Two Thai groups kept up an excellent pace to enable our first group to complete the round in 3 hours, 30 minutes, including searching for lost balls in the rough.

 

September

Paul Durkan Tops the List Again

On another fine, but overcast day, our twelve golfers, who became thirteen, after adding one who forgot to sign up, headed off for beautiful Laem Chabang golf Course.
As usual this course was in great condition, there was some sanding of the greens, but this seems to be the best time to do it as most courses are in the same process. However, because these greens are already so good, it is only a light sanding.

Once again, our first group was behind a slow Ladies group, but when they stopped for a break, our group was called through, so finished in just on four hours.
The first nine, the A course, seemed easy going but the next nine, the C course, sorted out a few as there were some very less than exciting scores turned in.
Paul Durkan, again, carried on his consistency to score another handicap equaling 36 points after scoring 20 points on the back nine, including a ‘blob’ on the par five C2, when his ball found some water. Once more, Bill Copeland filled the role of bridesmaid with a solid 35 points to take second spot. Tom Herrington can be good or better and his 33 points, after a consistent 17 front and 16 back, got him third place.

The C nine here is usually a challenge and this proved to be the case for many today, with some rather ordinary scores and some single figures thrown in. Walter Baechli had a blinder on the front nine, but faded badly on the back, but still won ‘best front nine’.
Places:
1st Place – Paul Durkan (5) - 36 pts
2nd Place – Bill Copeland (13) - 35 pts
3rd Place – Tom Herrington (19) - 33 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Walter Baechli – 22 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Tip Briney - 17 pts

We have played this course twice a month for a long time at a special price, but now that price may be increased, ready for the High Season, so a closer look may be warranted.

 

Wayne Wins on a Wet Wednesday

September already! Is it me getting old or are these days and months really going quicker than before? September also saw us run out of luck at Greenwood. After being washed out at a game during July, and receiving a rain check for that, we have had many days with dark clouds overhead at this course, but managed to get through the day dry.
Right on our start time today came the first tentative sprinkle of rain, but not enough to stop our first two groups from teeing off. They completed one or two holes and the rain became heavier and increased in strength, and lasted for almost an hour. Wet, but undaunted, our four groups carried on and all finished the round.
The course was a little wet when we started and carts were restricted to the paths and then, after the rain, the fairways were much wetter and any run out there before was just about stopped now.
However, the greens are in such good condition that, apart from slowing slightly, gave a smooth, excellent roll, so no excuses if you putted poorly.
Wayne Peppernell, even though he was given wrong information about lift, clean and place, played the course and conditions very well to score a solid 38 points for the win. A similar story for Huw Phillips, also scoring 38 points, but just pipped in the countback and a taking a well earned second placing. In the same group as Huw, Martin Patch was right there with a bit of a revival after some lessons recently, to score 37 points to take third spot. Tommy Marshall won the ‘best back nine’ with 19 points after a slip up by the organizer initially awarded the prize to Tony Browne. All sorted, fortunately. Mike Firkin won a countback for ‘best front nine’ with 16 points.

Winners:
1st Place – Wayne Peppernell (15) - 38 pts c/back
2nd Place – Huw Phillips (14) - 38 pts
3rd Place – Martin Patch (15) - 37 pts
Best front nine: (non winners) – Mike Firkin - 16 pts c/back
Best back nine (non winners) – Tommy Marshall - 19 pts
This course is almost always in very good condition and the greens never fail us. At the Sports Day price, or using vouchers, it is good value and all players enjoy coming here.

Wayne Having a Purple Patch

It was a surprise to be told that we would play the A+B combination today at Burapha as it was only 12 days ago that the greens were cored. The course is, generally, in very good condition with nicely cut fairways, some good run, and the rough has been cut down, but is still fairly tough to play. But these greens, so good only a couple of weeks ago for the big Singha tournament, now seem to have the same disease that other courses are having. There are black splotches and some putts seem to jump at an angle after hitting something. Not usual for this course.

The weather was fine and hot with nil chance of rain, and a clear run around the course had our four groups finishing in good time.

Even with the greens’ worry, everybody had the same course to play and there were still some very good scorecards handed in. Wayne Peppernell has hit a purple patch that we would all like at some time. After 37 points at at Bangpra last month and then 38 points at Greenwood last week, he has romped away with 42 points to clearly win here.
Walter Baechli likes to travel the world but his wings have been clipped for now. The good news is, that he can now play more golf and he his finding the old form that had him at a lower handicap a while back. Today he has scored 39 points to win a countback for second place. It is no surprise to find Huw Phillips on the podium and he took third spot, also with 39 points, behind Walter.
We didn’t put in a fourth prize just so Paul Durkan can continue getting in the placings, he actually got fourth in a countback over Tommy Marshall, both scoring 37 points.
Tommy didn’t miss out as he had the ‘best front nine’ for non winners with 19 points.
Tommy’s playing partner, Peter Lacey, with 20 points took ‘best back nine’ on a countback.
Apparently, the greens on the C+D nines are in very good condition, so we are sure the A+B greens will bounce back to their normal first class very soon.
The Seniors Special of 1250 bht for over 60’s continues and we will return on Sept.23

 

Huw Phillips Wins a Close Finish

When you walk to the first tee at Bangpra and see the ninth green to the right and the practice green ahead, both looking in magnificent condition, and then looking at the well grassed fairways stretching out on the tenth and first, you know you are in for a very good day. The greens were the big talking point after the round as they were near perfect and even those who did not score well noted how good the entire course was today. Not only that, but a terrific sports day price of 1450 bht all in, an early start, and some nice breezes throughout the day. The only thing better would be a good score.
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Huw Phillips did that, scoring 38 points to take top spot, a fine score on a course not renowned for high stableford scores, even considering the beautiful conditions.
Bridesmaid, Bill Copeland, has scored 37 points for second place to finally outdo his mate and playing partner, Wayne. When Tom Herrington gets into the zone, he can make a lot of points, and this time it was 36 points and third place. From the same group as Huw, Tony Browne had ‘best front nine’ with 20 points and Martin Patch won a four way countback for ‘best back nine’ with 17 points.
Best front nine ( non winners) – Tony Browne - 20 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Martin Patch - 17 pts c/back

It must be ‘baby season’ for the monkeys as mothers and babies were out in force today, and the usual attempted robberies from our 13 players and some caddies, with a number of successes for the monkeys. We never learn!
A couple of players said after the round that they wish they could come back here again soon, such was the condition of the course. We hope you can keep it up, Bangpra.

Now it’s Bill’s Turn for 43 Points

“What happened to the ‘A’ nine greens? At our last visit, we commented on how good they were and that the ‘B’ nine greens were very patchy.
Now the ‘B nine seems to be under repair and the ‘A’ nine greens have gone downhill, with brown areas, some holes, and sanded. What a shame. Let’s hope the greenkeeper can get them back the way we like them, soon.”

That was from our report on August 10. The Greenkeeper must have found a magic elixir because these greens, and the recently renovated ‘C’ nine greens were in beautiful condition. All were running smoothly and truly, albeit just a tad slower than we expected, a wonderful job by whoever is responsible. The rest of the two nines we played are also in terrific condition, with the well grassed fairways cut to have the ball sit up nicely. The rough is a bit thick and not easy to find the ball or to play from. It is supposed to be a penalty, after all.
The weather was fine and, for the first nine, very hot and no breeze. By the next nine, clouds were darkening and that breeze that means rain is coming, started to gain strength.
However, all thirteen players finished the round dry, but we drove through heavy rain on the way back to Pattaya.
Last Monday, Wayne Peppernell scored 42 points for a win. Today, it was the turn of his regular playing partner, Bill Copeland, to go one better and score 43 points here at Pattana. His form has been down a little lately, but Bill has bounced back into the winners’ circle. Glen Elsworth, in his penultimate game before heading to the UK had his best round for a while, scoring 39 points for second spot. The ‘you tube’ golf lessons are working for sure. Ever consistent, George Mueller, took third place, to his surprise, with a solid 36 points, which he thought would not be enough.
Best front nine ( non winners) – Karl Flood – 19 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Peter Lacey - 18 pts

We have had a great week of golf, and been spoiled with two consecutive golf courses in near perfect condition, just for us??

Derek Finds Top Form When He Needs it

When our fourteen Links Golfers made their way to Laem Chabang it was under the impression that this would be the last time for a while, as the course had increased the price by 460 bht for the Monday special, according to the PSC rates list. By the time they arrived back to Links Bar in the afternoon, we had received a message from the course announcing that the current price of 2059 bht would now be extended until at least the end of October. A schedule reshuffle will now be done for October.

With only four groups, and playing order decided, the organizer decided to stay back, assuming that there were some people who could keep things moving smoothly. You should never assume, Johnno! While a couple of people were at the driving range and some had not yet come from the locker room, a caddy for someone in group three said that it was okay to start early so, without consulting groups scheduled before them, someone in the group decided that going early meant them. So now, we had a four- ball going out ahead of two three balls. So, all the pre planning was now, Duh! Nevertheless, with a very quiet course, three groups finished quickly and were back to Links much earlier than expected.

We waited until the last group arrived back before we could finalise the results, and in this group was the card from the eventual winner of the day. We have noted before how Derek Phillips can find some good form just when he needs it, and his 39 points today was very good form. A very impressive 23 points on the front nine makes you wonder what might have been. Bill Copeland carried on his game from Friday to score another excellent 37 points to take second spot, and perhaps fulfil his hope of getting the handicap going south again. Tommy Marshall, from his small handicap of #4, played well to have 36 points for third place and Paul Durkan, who also has a low handicap of #5, once again snuck into the placings on 35 points.
Best front nine (non winners) – Peter Lacey – 21 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Wayne Peppernell - 16 pts

We are very happy to see that Laem Chabang has decided to carry on with a good deal for golfers, and we will now put them back on our schedule so that we play our part in the deal.

 

Tommy Prevails – Hard Course – Hard Day

Regular readers and golfers who have played at Treasure Hill Golf Club will know that, although a very good class of golf course, is not an easy one to achieve high points scores. Today our eight Links players had it even tougher. Like many courses right now, the rough has not been cut back and is dense and even difficult to find the ball. The fairways are very good, but the normally, very quick greens were so slow that almost no-one could work them out.  Then the weather, although hot and dry most of the round, quickly became dark and wet, and just a little dangerous when lightning seemed to hit the ground close to our first group. It turned out that it was even closer to the second group.

The first group made it the end of the round before getting wet, but the second group, with three holes to play, decided to head for the clubhouse to sit it out. They returned to finish the round as conditions improved.

With all of the above at play, the scores today were nothing to write home about, as no-one even made it to 30 points. Tommy Marshall survived the best with a winning score of 29 points. Then came a three-way tie on 27 points, separated by countback.
George Mueller, 15 pts back nine was second and Peter Lacey, 13 pts back nine, was third. Tip Briney had 12 pts back nine to just miss a place.

It seems that many courses we have visited recently have slowed down greens, even though they actually look quite quick, maybe better next time after some sun on them.

 

Len Jones Wins at his “Home Course”

This Emerald Golf Course is just improving all the time since the new owners took over. There was machinery all around the course today, keeping the fairways in terrific condition with expertly cut grass, and also getting into the rough. Mind you, it is still hard to find a flat lie on the fairways, but that is the nature of the area. The greens are still a work in progress, but progressing very well, coming from a low base.

As some players noted about the layout of the Nick Faldo design, every hole is different and most, also very scenic, take a look around.
The current special price of 1050 all in makes it an attractive proposition. That price means compulsory cart, so not for the die-hard walkers.

Len Jones and Mike Firkin have the most recent experience here, by sneaking away to have a hit on odd days. Mike had a win here at our last visit and today it was Len’s turn.
With a happy return to form, Len Jones scored a solid 35 points to take the win on his ‘home course’. Steve Moxey reckons he always loses countbacks, and he did again, as he also had 35 points, but not enough on the homeward nine. David McKey has been well down on form over recent times and was very happy with himself as he handed over his card with a score of 34 points, which got him third place.

The weather was once again on our side as the sky was overcast all day, and getting a bit darker at times. But, in the end, there was a nice breeze, lower temperatures, and not a drop of rain. A perfect day for golf for our eight players.
We will return here about the same time next month, so if you missed playing today, it might be one to put in the diary.

Happy Hunting Ground for Mike

It was just a month ago that Mike Firkin cleaned up at Royal Lakeside with a great score of 43 points from a, then, handicap of 22. Returning to his ‘happy hunting ground’ today, he has scored another great 44 points from a much reduced handicap of 19, now coming down due to some good scores in recent outings.

Heavy overnight rain in Pattaya had us wondering if we would even consider going to golf on Monday. However, weather conditions were vastly improved by the time we gathered at Links Bar next morning. After one scratching due to an injury, eight players headed off on time, except that Tommy had George a little worried, he being the only one left at the bar after all others had gone.

Although there has been plenty of wet weather around, Royal Lakeside Golf Course was in very good condition. The fairways were a little soft, but still had some run, but in order to care for the course, carts were restricted to the cart path, so we played lift, clean and place on the fairways. The greens are very good, as usual and, surprisingly, had good pace, unlike some other courses recently.
 
Mike’s 44 points left plenty of daylight to the second and third places. Tip Briney scored 37 points at another course a couple of days earlier and added another 37 points today to take second place on countback over George Mueller. Both good scores but not enough, this time, for a Green Jacket.

The weather system that caused all of the rain seems to have moved away now and we are seeing some much lighter skies, so everyone is looking forward to the next game, without fear of getting wet.

 

Derek Dazzles with 45 Points

The sky was light grey and the humidity high as our thirteen Links golfers assembled at the first tee, A1 at Burapha. As there were no other players in sight, the starter allowed us to go when ready, which was about 15 minutes before our scheduled time. Near the end of the round the sky became much heavier and a breeze picked up to coincide with the sound of distant thunder. The first three groups, 3-balls, made good time and were into the locker room before the first light drizzle started, and then it became heavier to just catch the slower last group, a 4-ball.

The course, generally, is in good condition with nice fairways, but the rough on the ‘A nine’ has not been cut so is very thick and hides the ball very well, not quite so much on the ‘B nine”, but still causing problems for those who choose to leave the fairway.
The greens had not improved since our visit earlier in the month and were sandy and slow.

Having said all that, our first four place-getters must have stayed on the fairways as the scores were excellent, one even better than that. When Derek Phillips has one of his ‘on’ days he finds plenty. Under the circumstances, as above, he has closed his mind to it all, and those in his group were awed by all facets of his game today. 45 points in any game, on any course, has to celebrated, well done to Derek. Mike Firkin has had a good run recently with scores in the forties. He did that again today with a great score of 41 points but, as it turned out, he could only run second to his mate and fellow group member. Sort of newcomer, he has had a couple of games with us a year or so back, big hitting Michael Blumhagen, scored an excellent 39 points on a course that he has not seen in a long time. Wayne Peppernell is still keeping up some good form and his 38 points ‘only’ got him fourth place.
Best front nine (non winners) – Tip Briney - 19 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Serge Straeten - 20 pts
 
Burapha still has the special over 60s price of 1250 bht all-in, at least until the end of next month. An interesting side line: Tip Briney scored his third consecutive 37 points, but missed out on a place this time.

 

Mike Wins Again but no Forty Points

Bright blue skies with puffy white clouds greeted our seven, yes seven, Links golfers on the first tee at Eastern Star. The course looked to be in very good condition, and so it was, although we noticed a lot of sand on the ninth green. This turned out to be the case for all greens. They have been having problems and, even though there is plenty of work to correct them, there is still a way to go. For a change, we can say the rough was cut here, and didn’t cause the problems for players as with some other courses.

After a rush of forty plus points in previous games, it all came back to ‘normal’ where the best score today was 33 points, as most struggled. Not a surprise as this course tends to keep scores on the lower side. That score of 33 points came from Mike Firkin, who is having a very good run of form, and once again will find his handicap has come down.
With only two places paid, it went to a countback for the remaining slot where Karl Flood just edged out Bill Copeland, both with 32 points.
Using the green fee vouchers, which have the bonus of a 400 bht cart, the all-in price of 1250 bht makes the, now, shortened trip here worthwhile doing and accepting the challenge.

We Found a Few Links Golfers…in Wales

If we can round up a few Links Golfers they will have a competition.

They came together at a place in Wales named St.Pierre Chepstow for two days to have a reunion and, of course, play some golf. All were talking about how keen they are to get back to Pattaya.
 
Naturally, in that part of the world it was cold, so cold that Phil reckoned he couldn’t swing the club, which was his excuse for low scores of 21 and 26.

Day One saw a tie for first place between Phil Ashton and Pat Levin, both scoring 35 points. No countback here, must be a local thing, so they shared first prize.
Day Two saw Lee Rodman score a great 39 points to just edge out Adam Barton on 38 points.

The bad news is that Wales, or at least that area, has gone back into lockdown and, in Phil’s words, ‘we had to lie, cheat and beg to play here’.
You’ve done well guys. Hope you all get back here soon.

Winners at St Pierre, Chepstow – Day One
1st Place – Phil Ashton - 35 pts Tied
2nd Place – Pat Lavin - 35 pts
Winners at St Pierre, Chepstow – Day Two
1st Place – Lee Rodman - 39 pts
2nd Place – Adam Barton - 38 pts

October

Treasure Hill Wins Again

After cancelling Monday due to a lack of players, and then having one four-ball on Wednesday, it was good to have twelve Links golfers come out to play at Treasure Hill. As usual here the scores were low, in fact, no-one played to handicap, but Bill Copeland came closest with 34 points to take the win. Karl Flood didn’t rate himself as a chance, but his 33 points got him second place. George Mueller had to rush off before presentations and asked if he had won anything. He did, it was third spot with 32 points. Huw Phillips was next with 31 points but all it got him was ‘best front nine’ for 19 points, and Craig Webster had 16 points for ‘best back nine’.
The course was in quite good condition and the greens tricked many as they appeared to be faster than what they actually were. They measured 8.0 on the ‘stimp’ and that scared players into leaving the putts short.
Weather started grey and overcast and looked to get darker near the end of the round, but no rain, after all it is the end of Buddhist Lent and the traditional end of the rainy season.
Best front nine (non winners) – Huw Phillips - 19 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Craig Webster - 16 pts
Naturally, there was the usual whining about this difficult course, the crab grass, trees in the fairways, rough too high, greens sanded, caddies no good, group in front too slow, underwear too tight, da, de da. Just another day of golf and another win to Treasure Hill.
The 200 bht green fee voucher made the all-in price of 1150 bht a great deal, however, that may have finished, as with most courses, where the current deals will finish on October 31.
We wait with bated breath to find out if the prices will rise, as they traditionally do for ‘high season’.

George Mueller Beats a Big Field

Links golfers came out in numbers for today’s round at Khao Kheow. It was pleasing to see eighteen players take on the B and C combination on an overcast day where rain threatened all day, but never arrived while we were on course.
The caddies must have been confident as they never made any move to bring out the bag covers.

Tip Briney was pretty happy with himself as he handed in his card. Not only did he score a nice 39 points, but he overcame a wayward driver. After it failed twice, it was consigned to the bag and replaced by the four iron. Tip thought that 39 points would have got him a win, but not quite, Tip! George Mueller grabbed a 3 pointer on his final putt for the round to take his score to 40 points, and a deserved win. Dave McKey came good after some fairly ordinary scores to have 35 points which was good for third place.
Craig Webster had a great run a few weeks ago, but went off the boil, but with a steady game today, scored 33 points, and fourth spot.

We had enough players to, at last, have some near pins to try for, and results were
Near Pins: Peter Lacey, Mike Firkin, Huw Phillips, Dave McKey
Best front nine (non winners) – Billy Buchanan - 20 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Bill Copeland - 17 pts
 
A lot of overnight rain at the course caused the order for carts on path only, a few groans here, but at the start of our second nine my caddie announced that we could now go on the fairway, relief! The fairways are well grassed and, surprisingly, quite firm even considering the rain. There were a few muddy patches, where the carts stayed clear, and, in fact, my caddie drove on the rough very often. Speaking of the rough, like most courses, it has not been cut down so the thickness causes some problems. The greens on the C course were starting to go like many others around this area, black patches, and some brown tinges around the fringe. However, the greens staff seem to be getting control and, with some sanding and repair work have them looking okay and playing truly. We always mention the problem tee boxes here. They are coming along, at last, so that we didn’t notice them as much as before.

The really good special price, for October, of 1250 bht all-in, which is supposed to end at Oct.30, is definitely welcome, so we will be back again on Oct.26, just in time.

Tip to the Top – The Four Iron Secret

Can we stop saying how good this Royal Lakeside course is? Although the fairways were a little soft and carts stayed on the paths, the grass coverage was cut just right, as usual, and the ball was able to get some run. There is almost no rough to speak of, unless you are a very long way off course, and the greens are the cleanest, quickest, best looking greens we have seen for a while. Happily, they don’t have the problems many courses in Chonburi are having.

This is a course usually known for big stableford scores and Tip Briney gave us one.
Having once again consigned the driver to the bag and used the trusty four iron off the tee, he had an even 21 points on the front nine and 20 points on the back.
He is a high handicapper, but can get manage a golf course pretty well. Being able to putt well helps. Michael Blumhagen came back for another game with us and carried on his very good form to score 37 points to take second spot on countback from Steve ‘I never win countbacks’ Moxey. Paul Weatherley joined us to take advantage of some cheap green fees that he won some time ago. He had an ordinary front nine but won
Best front nine (non winners) – Wayne Peppernell - 18 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – Paul Weatherley - 20 pts
 
The course in terrific condition, and the promo price of 1700 bht all-in is welcome.
But wait, there’s more. Upon paying for today, players received a free green fee voucher for next time AND a 100 bht food voucher to spend at the kiosks around the course. Not bad!!. Thank you.

We noted that after the holiday for the end of Buddhist Lent, it was the traditional end of the rainy season, but someone forgot to organize the weather. It’s still coming down although, thankfully, not while we were at Royal Lakeside. In fact, the overcast conditions and a cool breeze most of the day made a comfortable day of golf for our eleven players.

Martin Patch Back in Winner’s Circle

At six thirty on this Friday morning, two of the players on the start sheet decided to cancel, citing the heavy rain that would happen later. An exciting day had then begun as our thirteen remaining players checked in to Pattana Golf Club.

Upon checking with the starter, we found that two societies had been booked at 10.00 am with Links being pushed back to 10.44 am, oh well! Very quickly then, an official decided that we could start on C course while the other group went to B course. Very sensible. Our first group teed off on C course at 9.40 am under heavily overcast skies. The little moisture that came down could not even be called a drizzle. Nevertheless, it was finished by the time the lead group got to the first green, and never returned.
Our second nine was to be the B course but, upon arrival there, found a group of junior golfers practicing for an upcoming tournament. They, along with some adults and caddies, ambled slowly along the fairway. One of our group went to explain the situation to the starter, who then called the manager, Khun Proa. She re-directed our groups to play the A course. We thank her for a quick decision which enabled our players to continue without delay, thereby having a nice day on the course.

Martin Patch had some lessons a few weeks back and it seems they kicked in today, as he played a steady game to take the win with 36 points and his first Green Jacket since January. Good going on a wet course. The’ bridesmaid’, Bill Copeland, came in second by winning a countback from George Mueller, both with 35 points. From the same group as the winner, Huw Phillips, rounded out the podium with 35 points for fourth.
Best front nine (non winners) – Mike Tottenham – 18 pts
Best back nine (non winners) – David McKey - 18 pts
 
Although there has been plenty of rain around Pattana, but not today, the course is in very good condition. The fairways are soft, of course, and provided little run, so we played lift, clean and place. The rough is difficult, but the greens on both nines are in terrific good condition, albeit slowed down from being wet.

While most courses will finish current pricing at Oct.30, Pattana is certainly maintaining the special price of 1350 bht all- in until the end of December. This will be first on the schedule.

Mike Tottenham Wins a Close Finish

Bangpra Golf course has been in top class condition pretty much since we came back to golf. A lot of rain recently has left the course wet and obviously difficult for the mowers, so the grass on the fairways, and rough, was a little longer than normal.
The carts stayed on the path and, as there was almost no run, we played lift, clean and place, a good thing too, as there were lots of mud balls. The greens are still very good and running truly but, because they are wet, slower than we have known.

History almost repeated when Huw Phillips handed in a score of 35 points. He won here last time but on this occasion was pipped by a playing partner in Mike Tottenham, who had the same score but won the countback. Bill Copeland finished second to Huw back then and was in the placings again with his 32 points to take third spot. Craig Webster seems to be in the picture regularly and has grabbed the final place on the podium with 31 points.
Best front nine (non winners) – Len Jones - 16 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Peter Lacey - 18 pts
 
The weather today was overcast, but the clouds were high and not much of a threat for rain. However, there was little breeze so conditions were somewhat humid.

Apart from the winners, scores were pretty poor, but then Bangpra has not been known for high stableford scores. The wet fairways and humidity didn’t help. Players who normally have a cart had a tough day because there was plenty of walking to do. With
the ground wet and heavy, it became quite tiring.

Our fourteen Links players enjoyed this course, as always, and hoping the special price of 1450 bht all-in will carry through the ‘high season’. Next month might be drier as well.
P.S. Rain did come, heavy, and all the way back to Pattaya. We got lucky again.

 

Moxey “I can’t play Pattavia”, Wins

On a day where the attrition rate was high for various reasons, e.g Rain, impatience, ‘thought the others were stopping’ and score no good, we started with twelve players and ended with eight scores handed in.

Pattavia Golf course was in the usual good condition we have become used to, with nice fairways, the rough a bit trying and those greens.

There has been rain here and even some more during the round that caused a twenty minute delay. This has slowed the greens to a playable speed, although one of the retirees, being a relative newcomer to the course, reckoned they were too quick.
 
At the rain delay, Moxey came running to the clubhouse all excited and said he is playing on. Having many failures at this course and saying he would never come here again, now had 17 points for eight holes and feeling confident. Playing on was a good decision because he kept his head down and came out on top with a score of 37 points, a very good score on a difficult and wet day. Kevin LaBar, playing at his ‘home course’ had another fine game here with 36 points for second. A 200 bht green fee for a year, as part of a prize for a hole-in-one, gets him on to this track as much as he can. Wayne Peppernell didn’t bother to ask if he was in the prizes, but he was, even though only having 30 points.
Best front nine (non winners) – Mike Firkin - 17 pts c/back
Best front nine (non winners) – George Mueller – 16 pts c/back

After dodging the rain at our past few games, we lucked out today. This caused only a short delay and didn’t do any harm to the course. However, there was rain, hard and plenty of it, all the way back to Pattaya and then some more just after arriving at Links. Did someone say a couple of weeks ago that the rainy season had ended?

Today it was Farewell to Joy, Links popular bar manager, as she heads to Wales to join Phil. We have no idea when she and Phil (or any of our clan stuck overseas, for that matter) will be getting back to Pattaya, sooner the better, though.
Stay well and safe, you guys

A Top Score from Ron on a Wet Course

As we looked out over Laem Chabang golf course it looked every bit as pristine and manicured as we have come to know. However, once getting onto those nice looking fairways, we found the ground quite wet and even soggy in places. Obviously, this course has had a lot of recent rain. We called lift, clean and place and, again, a good decision as balls were plugging and there was almost no run at all.

The greens were right up to the normal high standard but, again, having had a lot of water, were much slower than usual.

The first couple of groups handing in the cards lamented about the wet course and how hard it was to score, so it was looking a bit dire. That was until the Ron Dickie, a first timer at Links, handed in his score of 39 points, and that was off a #9 handicap.
Then the ‘ Bridesmaid’, Bill Copeland, came in with a good score of 35 points for second place, again, but only after winning a countback from Craig Webster, in his last game before going home to NZ. Paul Durkan had another podium finish with his 34 points to take fourth place.
Best front nine (non-winners) – Daniel Shamir – 19 pts
Best front nine (non-winners) – George Mueller - 18 pts

Paul Durkan brought out three mates for their first time at Links. Rod, the winner, was one of them and Daniel Shamir was another and he had a ‘best front nine’ with 19 points while George Mueller had ‘best back nine with 18 points. For the record, the third ‘mate’ was Andy Robertson.

Although grey, and threatening rain all through the round, we escaped again without a drop of moisture. With few people on course, our first three groups finished in four hours, the last group somewhat longer than that.

 

Bill Copeland Sloshes Through to Win

After having a wet Laem Chabang course on Monday, it was probably not surprising to find a similar situation here at Eastern Star. The fairways were very wet and let’s not talk about the rough, or rather, don’t go there.

The story of the greens: At our last visit here they were having problems, like many other courses. However, although they were wet and slow today, these greens have been worked on and have come a fair way back to what they should be, and were.

Even though he has been in some placings and ‘best nines’ in the past six weeks, another Green Jacket has been elusive for Bill Copeland. Sloshing along on the wet fairways, he has come in with the top score for the day of 34 points.  As an idea how good that score was under the circumstances, Tip Briney, with his trusty four iron off the tee, scored a respectable 31 points for second spot. We had only seven starters today so paying just the two placings. Had there been a third, Wayne Peppernell would have that place with 29 points. He says that he had three balls become plugged and they couldn’t find them, so that’s why he didn’t beat Bill.

Our luck with the weather returned as, although the sky was many shades of grey during the day, we were spared the raindrops.

The rate we paid today, as with the past few months, is very nice, and may it continue into the ‘high season’, as we have already booked this course for next month. Hopefully things will dry out a bit by then as well.

 

Two in a Row for Bill Copeland

The Met bureau tells us that the rain has finished and the temperatures should cool off.
Indeed, earlier this morning, it did feel just a little cooler. However, during our round of golf at Emerald Course, it did warm up again.

This is described as a challenging course cut into and through rainforest. It certainly is scenic and just a bit rural. The new ownership is putting in the work to bring the course up to standard. This won’t happen overnight, but some improvements are already noticeable. The, mostly, narrow fairways are cut nicely, but the rough is deep and difficult where it is easy to lose a golf ball, forever, and there are plenty of trees to hide a ball as well. The greens are being worked on and are varied. Some are completed and looking good, while other have varying amounts of sanding. All are quite slow.

The course is drying out and carts were allowed on fairways, although the caddies were cautious and drove on the rough where they could.

We had a good roll-up of thirteen Links golfers plus two guests who did not take part in the comp.  Another Society was booked ahead of us, but they had gone early and the starter gave us the word to go when ready, so our first group, a three ball, teed off 15 minutes before the 11.00 am schedule and made good time until they caught the group in front. However, exactly four hours was acceptable.

Bill Copeland is having a run of form playing in Links comps and in his social group.
After taking out the win two days earlier, he continued on his way with a nicely rounded 36 points. Bill didn’t have it all his own way, however, as George Mueller, playing in the same group, also had 36 points, but not enough on the back nine to beat Bill. Tommy Marshall played with a couple of his Thai friends, plus Dave McKey, where he put in his usual consistent game to score 35 points and grab third spot.
Best front nine (non winners) – Banjo Bannister – 20 pts
Best front nine (non winners) – Steve Moxey - 17 pts

There have been a number of recent reports about this course, some say it is in terrific condition, others say not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are two things for sure, and that is that it is a challenge and it is very scenic.

 

November

Billy Buchanan Finds Form Again

Billy Buchanan plays at Links sparingly these days, but he has been doing some quiet practicing so, today, he came out to Khao Kheow to put that practice into action. It all paid off for Billy as he came in with a good score of 37 points to, once again, don the Green Jacket. It’s been a while. Peter Lacey has been on and off the course with a troublesome ankle. This time he not only completed the eighteen holes but returned a creditable 35 points for the second spot. Markku Tynell joined us for the second time since the lockdown and made an impression by taking third place with 33 points. At our most recent visit to Khao Kheow, Dave McKey placed third and so continued his liking for the course by finishing fourth, scoring 32 points.

We asked the caddies at the start if there was run on the fairways. The answer was in the affirmative, and proved to be correct. The fairways are in pretty good condition.  The greens, it seems, have had some problems, like a lot of courses, but some sanding and care sees them playing very well and with good pace, even if not looking the picture they normally do.

With less humidity and a gentle breeze, conditions were ideal and comfortable for golf and our twelve Links players had a terrific day out.

The first group got away 15 minutes ahead of schedule and made good time for the first nine. Upon reaching the second nine, C course, two groups had just teed off ahead of us. There was some waiting, but the end result was a four hour, ten minute round.

The price today of 1250 baht all-in is much appreciated and hopefully that will continue when we return in a couple of weeks, when we fully expect the greens to be back to their usual great condition.

 

“Banjo” Conquers the Rough

The rough at Greenwood was uncharacteristically high and dense, which proved too much for Wayne Peppernell. He gave it up after eight holes and went to complain to the Manager. The Manager’s initial reaction was one of not much interest.
However, after some time, the Manager sought out Wayne to explain about the problems with machinery right now, and offered a sincere apology. Well done, and good customer relations. Wayne was much calmer after the meeting.

Meanwhile, play went on. Peter Allen has had some fairly, not so ordinary scores lately, but today he has come in with a terrific 36 points. This is not the first time, but it has been a while. He was clubhouse leader and waited around until the final group came in, just in case we needed a photo. Not a Green Jacket this time, Pete, but well done. Two days ago, Peter Lacey was in second place at Khao Kheow and he was second again today with a top class score of 37 points. The ankle is on the mend. Richard ‘Banjo” Bannister found some very good form today to take the win with an excellent 40 points. It would seem that he handled the rough okay, or didn’t go in it, maybe a better idea.
No photo with the Green Jacket as he was headed straight off to Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong festivities.

Apart from the problems with the rough, the course was in it’s usual good condition. The fairways are cut nicely, although surprised some with not as much run as expected.
The greens are as good as any around at the moment, and don’t appear to have had the same problems as other courses, we are happy with that.

Only ten players out today in fine, cooler weather which was enjoyable and comfortable for golf.

 

Tony Browne Finds Something Extra

When we received a message from Laem Chabang offering the chance for a special price of 1684 bht all-in, how could we refuse? Unfortunately, that meant that we had to cancel the booking we had at another course. At such short notice, rounding up some players was difficult as some had other commitments, for golf or otherwise. However, with three Frenchmen joining us, two of them having played with us a long time ago, we had three groups of four to tackle the A and B combination.

We tempted fate as we stood in the mustering area and, looking skywards, decided that it would not rain.  Three or four brief, passing showers swept across the course, but not enough to cause a stoppage.

Tony Browne has not had the best of luck recently and his handicap has blown out to an unlikely 20. Not only some luck today, but good golf got him 35 points on the scorecard to have a good win. Whilst donning the Green Jacket later, he commented that it had been a long time since he had last worn it. The next three placed players had 33 points and needed to be separated by countback. Roger Emery, one of the French connection, scored 18 points on the back nine to take second place. Martin Patch took third spot with 14 points, back nine, but that came down to the last six to leave Thierry Petrement in fourth place.

At our last visit here, the fairways were damp and had almost no run, so we decided to have lift, clean and place again. However, this time there was good run and just the odd ‘mud ball’. The greens are immaculate, as usual, and played truly. The rough here, unlike others at this time, is nothing to worry about, unless you are well off target, as a couple can attest to.

The price offered certainly got our attention, but it may have been a one off. If we are really lucky, we might be offered that again. Meanwhile, it seems that Laem Chabang is keeping the Monday special at 2059 bht, at least for November. Most courses have not raised prices for ‘high season’ and a couple have even lowered theirs. Expat golfers are happy with that, but we are sure the golf clubs would prefer to have more customers and able to get some more income, as would the caddies.

Moxey Has a Welcome Win

Tuesday, November 3, our three golfers enjoyed a day at Treasure Hill in nice, breezy weather. The condition of the course is just about as good as we have seen in recent times.

After being given an early start, the group made good time until coming upon a five ball. A slight slowing on the ninth fairway before being called through, enabled a fairly quick round.

Today, Thursday 5th, we doubled our number of players to six, who all enjoyed another golf course that has returned to the condition we have come to know.  The Pattana B and C fairways are cut to a good height and the greens are running with good pace. And that pesky rough has been cut back and is now playable.

Steve Moxey has been, at times, lamenting his handicap blow out, but having an extra shot or two, has given him some confidence. His best score for a while, of 38 points, landed him another Green Jacket. Gerard Lambert, of the French connection, reckons he would have beaten Moxey if he didn’t have so many putts on the last green. Not a bad score though, 36 points for second place.

The weather is now becoming very pleasant with blue skies and mostly a nice breeze around, making golfing a bit easier.

Scoring was good today as the worst score of the group was 32 points, so everyone was fairly happy with that.

 

Brian Talbot - an Appreciation

(Grateful thanks to John Mason)

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing on Tuesday 3rd November of our great friend and golfing companion, Brian Talbot.

Brian was a long-time stalwart of Pattaya golf, playing mainly out of the Haven, the Elephant Bar (as was) and the Links. Based both in England and Spain (where he was a member of Santa Maria GC), his custom was to make 2, month-long visits to Thailand each year, in March/April and November/December, staying normally in Pattaya at KTK.

Even well into his seventies, he remained a very fit man, working out in the gym and far more likely than not to walk the course, while younger golfers, bemoaning their aches and pains, resorted to carts. He was a very competent and keen golfer, single figures in his day and not much higher as he got older. He took pleasure in helping others who were struggling with their games and he enjoyed ‘after golf’ drinks, a few cigarettes and the inevitable ‘give and take’ banter over the day’s results. And, if the boys decided on a boys’ night out, you could count on Brian being in attendance.

Brian was a man of Wigan stock who worked in the pits and then as a mature student became a graduate of Ruskin College, Oxford. He was an intelligent and down to earth guy and an honest family man who loved animals and abhorred cruelty. He was the sort of understated yet knowledgeable guy you felt it a privilege to share time with. Many of us valued his company and friendship and we will miss him greatly.

RIP Brian.

George Defies Strong Winds

On a fine and windy TUESDAY morning, nine Links golfers arrived at Khao Kheow to tackle the C and A combination. As the course has dried out, there was no question of carts on fairways and, at the great price of 1250 bht all-in, the choice was easy. With good run on the well-cut fairways, and the greens, although still not looking pretty, ran truly and at deceiving pace, as a missed downhill putt proved on occasion. They are getting plenty of attention from the ground staff as they were busy sanding and tidying as we played. The rough is a popular topic around our golfing area right now with many courses having not yet cut it back. We had some hard to find and even disappearing balls here today.

In hindsight, and not being able to predict the weather, we could have chosen to play the shorter white tees as the strong and, at times, gusty wind never eased up at all during the round. Many a flying hat was seen around the course.

Playing from the yellow’s kept scores well down from what might have been on a less windy day. Nevertheless, George Mueller, being an experienced yachtie and knowing all about how winds work, played a smart enough game to be the only player to make it to 30 points, 32 points, in fact, for a good win. Tom Herrington and Peter Lacey were surprised to be called in the placings, both with just 29 points. Tom won out on countback for second spot.

The players didn’t seem to spend a lot of time wondering why they were playing golf on a Tuesday and enjoyed a windy, but pleasant day out at beautiful Khao Kheow Country Club.

 

We ask for 40 Points – George Got Them

Following a difficult day on Tuesday playing from the longer yellow tees in very windy conditions at Khao Kheow, it was decided to give the players an easy day. So, with the breeze much gentler at the first tee, we played the shorter yellow tees and, with a smile, we reckoned someone should make forty points.

George Mueller won in the wind on Tuesday and carried on that form in the shorter game today, and did as asked by making exactly 40 points with a solid 21 points on the back nine. Billy Buchanan, showing good form today, was clubhouse leader right up until George got in. Billy had a very credible 39 points to lose by a whisker, having 19 points back nine. A mention about Peter Allen here. He is a high handicapper and can sometimes pull out a big score. 37 points is a very good effort. Unfortunately, only two placings on the podium today, but he was very happy with himself.

There was some trepidation about coming to Eastern Star because reports on the condition of the greens was not encouraging. However, there has been a lot of work put into them in the past couple of weeks and they have come up a treat. Our seven players had nothing but praise for the vast improvement, so hats off to the ground staff for a fine job. As can be seen by the scores, the rest of the course is also in very good order with plenty of run on the nicely cut fairways, while a nice breeze kept playing conditions comfortable.

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Our next game is Tuesday, Nov.17 at Royal Lakeside. At our last visit golfers were given vouchers for a Free green fee for this game. If you have one, sign up to take advantage of that. If you don’t have one of these, or can’t procure one from a friend, the course is still offering a promotion price of 1900 bht all-in.
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Michael Blumhagen Goes One Better

Our return to Royal Lakeside found a sunny, clear sky, with a few puffy clouds and a light breeze. It was a Tuesday morning and our nine golfers, some with free green fee vouchers from last time, were ready to tackle this fine golf course.

After some leisurely time on the practice green for some, or another cup of tea for others, we were asked to go when ready. With very few on the course, our first group teed off 30 minutes before the booked time, and continued at a good pace.

At our last visit here, Michael Blumhagen scored 37 points and finished in second place. Today he went one place and two points better to take the win, scoring a nice 39 points. Also from last time, Steve Moxey finished in third place. He also went up one place to be second with 35 points, a good comeback from last week’s disaster. It’s always good when Paul Durkan can get to play with us and he usually seems to get a mention in the results. He has grabbed third place today with 33 points after four cards went to the countback. Paul had the best back nine of them all with 18 points.

There was a mishearing by the ‘old’ organizer and so a reorganizing of placings was needed. To make it simple, we added one extra prize, so Peter Allen slipped into fourth spot by winning another of the countbacks at 33 points.

We know this course is always in great condition and so it was today, with those fairways that are cut to allow the ball to sit up a little, But, what happened to some of the cups? On quite a few of the greens around the course it appeared that the cup was not inserted correctly, or ?? Maybe someone who knows about these things can suggest why they are not round.

It is unusual to criticize anything about this course, but we all have our days.

Some more free green fees came to some players and all received 100 bht vouchers to spend at the kiosks on the way around, very nice.

We started with some excellent weather, but by the second nine, that light breeze had dropped away and made conditions just a little warmer. Nevertheless, a very pleasant day on a fine golf course.

 

Billy Buchanan is a Long Way Ahead

It was only last THURSDAY that George Mueller and Billy Buchanan finished one-two at Eastern Star with some high scoring. This THURSDAY they finished one-two again but, this time, Billy turned the tables and finished on top with an excellent score of 37 points.
The rest of the field of Eleven players were left way behind, with George Mueller getting nearest by scoring 32 points to complete the one-two again. Karl Flood walks the course and, although he certainly raised a sweat today, came in with 31 points to take third place. Three boys from Tropical Golf Group came for a visit with us and one of them, Andre Van Dyk, scored 30 points to win a four way countback and grab the last spot on the podium.

After having fine and relatively cooler weather earlier in the week, today was hot with barely a ripple of breeze, so, even in carts, it was hard work. Where is that cool season?
This Emerald course is still a work in progress and is progressing very nicely. It’s always been hard to find a flat lie on the fairways here, but they are cut to make the ball available for a good shot. The horrible rough that we encountered last time has now been cut to acceptable levels. Also, at our last visit, the greens were fairly heavily sanded, but have now settled down and all players were more than pleased with how they played, even if someone did have a four putt.

As this day was declared a Public Holiday, we were prepared for the higher holiday pricing. However, a pleasant surprise awaited as management decided to not go there and we paid the new weekday price of just 1150 bht all-in. Much appreciated.

Footnote: We are playing an extra day, Monday Nov.23, to take advantage of a Special Offer from Laem Chabang. A fantastic course for a fantastic price of just 1900 baht all in.

 

 

December

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