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There was blood on the greens on 28 April 2018.

Mal winning and grinning
I’ll beat my age yet, even if it kills me.

There was a goodly roll-up of twentyone members on a morning that was a bit fresh and foggy.  Only twenty players got to finish the round after Jason received a call that his wife was unwell and he had to dash off to be at her side.  We all hope it turns out for the best, mate.

The course management suggested that tee times could be a bit delayed because of the fog but, quite suddenly, it lifted and the course was clear even if the sun did not show its face for quite some time into the round.  It was about the 14th hole before some saw fit to strip off some of the layers.  And that was quite aside from the heat that was being generated out on the course.

No, it wasn’t the sort of heat that was being generated by anger or frustration and, in fact, there seemed to be very little of that sort of heat at all.  It was the heat being generated by all sorts of people burning up the course.  And the one who really did a ‘dump and burn’ (F-111 fans will know what I mean) was none other than Mal who put on a spectacular display to card 85 strokes off the stick (just one more than his current age) and in the process tallied up a pretty impressive 44 points to take out the day pretty easily.  He did have a bit of luck in places.  His second on the 8th took a nasty bounce to the right, heading for the billabong, but the ball hit the top of the fence and fell back into bounds.  Some days are diamonds.

In equal second place were another couple of seniors with Blighty and DennisW tying it up with 40 points of the stableford variety.  Blighty’s card was adorned with a couple of scratches, one of which was down to some interesting shot playing on the 6th.  His ‘shot for the green’ from the middle of the fairway was a fearsome shank that caught one of the trees, between there and the 7th, plumb and the ball whistled back missing JohnQ’s head by millimetres.  Porks reckons it was John’s stature that saved him from a hit on the occiput.  Dennis also gashed out a couple of times so there was plenty of potential there too.  But we will have to wait for a few weeks as Dennis is off on a trip to the Orient where he doesn’t think he will get much chance for golfing.

JohnQ’s near death experience on the 7th didn’t seem to affect his game too much as he was able to scratch together 39 points.  He did have a little help on the 9th when a chip that could have been well past, hit the top of the flag stick and fell within gettable distance from the hole.  John was joined in third place by Brendon, Chrispy and Bob.  Bob bobbed up and down in the placings after an appeal on one score was offset by another ‘undetected’ mis-calculation.  Oh well, easy come, easy go.  Brendon played his usual steady round and probably had his chances to score better while Chrispy seems to have successfully passed on the title of Sir Shankalot to SOS.  It is reported that SOS no longer bothers to line up his shots on the basis that they never go in that direction anyway.

Whitey broke a few hearts today.  No, not the female variety, the golfer variety, when he came in with a score of 37 points to take fourth spot on his ownsome and in the process he pushed a swag of members out of the points.  The after-effects of the cricket season are obviously wearing off or maybe he was just building up to celebrate his birthday.  The Birthday Birdie says have fun on your day, Rod.  In fifth spot, we had another couple of Seniors with Harry and RodG playing right to their respective handicaps with 36 points.

The BallPin today was on the 4th and JohnQ managed to put his drive to pin high but a few metres away and he was not at all confident that it would stand.  In the event, it did, and John collected a nice shiny white ball for his trouble.  The mobile ProPin was on the 15th and a Jackpot from last week when Brendon was found to be just a couple of centimetres outside the legal limit.  He made up for it this week and put his ball 66cm inside the limit (4.34m for the arithmetically challenged) to take the money.  His claim that he missed purposely last week in order to collect the Jackpot this week didn’t really hold water.  Why not just win both weeks?  The second ProPin on the 18th went to Rob with a hole/ball separation of 2.37m

JohnQ was pretty pleased with his effort at getting a birdie on the 5th and he would have been even more pleased if his birdie putt on the 6th hadn’t missed by a hair’s breadth after he left his ‘eagle’ chip somewhat short of the mark.  But he did contribute to the total of 10 birdies that the field managed today.  There was one draughtie reported (dobbed in, anyway) today and that was down to Porks who hit a beautiful drive (his words) on the second only to have it hit a tree and come back behind the red markers.  He went close to repeating the dose later in the round.  It is unclear whether he owes a drink to Jason who was present during the event but not at the afters.

There were two matches contested today.  Stef and Joe did battle and it was ‘big swing’ vs ‘short and punchy’.  Stef was armed with a new driver with 4.5 degree loft and an extra long shaft.  He obviously needs more distance (not) while Joe could be armed with just about anything given his propensity for wheeling and dealing (clubs, that is).  The six stroke differential was not quite enough on the day and Stef took the match 3 and 2.  The match between Brent and Mal was not so much a battle, more like a slaughter.  Brent just happened to come back from a bit of a break on a day that Mal was absolutely on fire.  Even when it looked like Brent had a chance, Mal would sink a 12m putt, if not to win, at least to square the hole.  There seemed to be little to be done to stop the flow of blood and the match finished with a score-line of 6 and 5.  Chrispy is smarting even more after today, as he went down to Brent so what sort of player does that make him.

One highlight of Brent’s round was that he reckons that he played the second on the actual second fairway for the first time after his drive fairly bisected the gap between the trees either side and flew straight and true without a hint of turn in either direction.  It will pay to remember how you did that, Brent.

Noodles reckons he left about ten shots out there and reports of putts missed from 100mm or less would tend to support at least a little of that claim.  Simon has acquired a bit of a reputation for having a target on his back as far as Stef’s shots go.  When Stef went ahead up the hill on the 9th, Simon was tempted to ‘get one back’ when he played his shot from the level ground.  He resisted the temptation, which is more than can be said for the temptation offered by ‘coffin nails’ (just sayin’).

The ‘quote of the day’ award would have to go to Blighty for his remark ‘That ball was in the hole until it wasn’t’.    Some balls that did go into the hole was a chip by Dennis for a birdie on the 18th and two efforts by Targe to hit the pin and have the ball fall into the hole.  Brendon reckons that doesn’t count as a ‘chip in’.  At the end of the day, it’s not how but how many.

Results for Saturday, 28 April 2018
1st Malcolm Fleming(44) 2nd Andrew Blight(40) 2nd Dennis Ward(40) 3rd Bob McDonald(39) 3rd Brendon Mitchell(39) 3rd Chris Priems(39) 3rd John Quinlan(39) 4th Rodney White(37) 5th Harry Boughen(36) 5th Rod Grant(36)

Seniors Results: 1st Malcolm Fleming (44) 2nd Andrew Blight (40) 2nd Dennis Ward (40) 3rd Bob McDonald (39)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin No 1 15th Brendon Mitchell ProPin No 2 18th Robert Priems BallPin 4th John Quinlan

There were balls on the line for the Par competition on 21 April 2018

Craig Camerons home.
When the going gets tough…..

There was a bit of coolness in the air this morning though nothing to bring to mind cats and razor blades.  And, the Bureau had promised yet another warm one in the ongoing run of unseasonably warm April weather.  So, when the sun did finally break through the light cloud cover, there was a veritable flurry of jumper removals as the temperature of the air and the players (all twenty of them) warmed to the challenge in front of them.  Some only had to wrestle with the vagaries of the Par competition which can both delight and destroy in equal measure.  Others were deeply engrossed in their second round matches and perhaps they were not so bothered by the nature of the competition and, maybe, not even by the changes in the weather.

One man who looked remarkably cool and collected throughout, was CraigC who managed to get himself through the back nine in only one over par.  He could easily have repeated the dose on the front had not a few missed putts given him bogies rather than the possible pars.  The score certainly belied the handicap that he has been playing from and the +4 scoreline and the top podium spot means that he should now have to work a little harder for his points.

Brendon had his moments out on the course today.  Never being one not to have his hand out when money is involved, a tee shot onto the green at the 15th saw Brendon rush to the ProPin bin where he inscribed his name on the card, complete with smiley face.  Then the tape measure came out and the reading came in at 5.02m.  Oh, the embarrassment of it all.  There was, however, something of a compensation on the 17th where a drive, believed not to have been intended to go for the green, finished in the Lord Mayor’s Office and was followed by a chip that finished comfortably in the hole.  And so, the Eagles nest was raided and Brendon finished half a dozen ProV1’s better off.  The plus on the hole gave him an overall result of +3 and 5 Championship points.

RodG took a bit of a hammering on the handicap front after his win in the Stuart Clarke but he seems to have shrugged off that little set-back and has just showed that he can play to the new mark and a little bit to make a +1 bottom line.  The new driver must have settled in and the lessons from the coach must have sunk in even if the new shoes did not fit to his liking.  Rod was joined on the podium by MattH, Rob and Dennis.  Rob was a cause for Harry having even less hair on top and his beard turning a paler shade of grey after Rob’s shot from the 8th whistled across the 9th tee at about head height just as Harry stepped up to play.  Dennis must have thought better of his threat to put his clubs through the mulcher after a less than spectacular run at The Dunes during the week.  Apparently the conversation on the way home was not pretty.  But they kissed and made up and so had a much better result from their outing today.

Fourth spot was filled by a trio of Seniors who all managed to play right to their handicap.  Trev realised at the end of the round that he had an extra stroke on his handicap and tried valiantly to sort out his final score with Bob but didn’t quite succeed and so he did not rate a mention in the announcements.  And this was with all of seven holes with three putt greens which Trev carefully marked on his card and told everybody about more times that he had three putt greens.  Targe too played some of his holes unconventionally and proved a couple of times that you don’t need great drives to score pars.

SteveK has now completed his real estate dealings and we can expect to see him on the tee on a much more regular basis that in the recent past.  The fact that he came in just one outside his handicap suggests that some higher placings might be in the offing once he gets his swing back in the groove.  Damo also gathered himself another point to keep his points total bumping along near to the top of the table.

While Brendon’s rush of blood to the head was a little premature, nobody else seems to have had similar cause and the ProPin in the 15th will Jackpot to next week.  The second ProPin on the 18th had a target on the lower deck and the easier location produced a result with CraigC taking home the bacon after placing his drive to 1.42m.  He made the putt and added to the total of 15 birdies that were carded for the day.  The BallPin was on the 4th and Damien was the one to collect a ball after he squeezed out smiley face Brendon.

The Matchplay matches played produced a mixed bag of results.  Gordon played Blighty and looked to have a fair grip on the match after going into positive territory from early in the round.  Then Andrew struck something of a purple patch and managed three birdies in the course of five holes to swing the advantage firmly in his favour.  Or so it seemed.  Gordon regrouped and the match was square after the 17th.  Gordon thought he had blown it with a double bogie on the 18th only to be let off the hook, big time, when Andrew could only make a quadruple.  1up to Gordon and the Butter Menthols can be saved for another day.

MattH played SOS was never really in any danger,  The match went dormie at the 12th and a win for Matt on the next hole gave him the match 7 and 5.  Best not repeat some of the after game comments by the assembled crowd.  The final match of the day was between Damo and Whitey.  Whitey freely admitted that he was erratic off the tee, to say the least, and sent several out of bounds.  Despite that, the fairway work and short game seemed to work pretty well and so the result was somewhat closer than you might have thought.  For instance, Damo could not believe Whitey’s shot on the 3rd that went right through the big tree on the corner without touching a twig or a branch and finished on the green a metre or so from the hole.  But, in the end, Damien did prevail and won the match 2 up.

There was one reported draughtie today and it was SOS buying the drinks for his drive on the 3rd that did not quite make it to the red markers.  One consolation is the fact that the blue markers were right back and the red were right forward meaning that there was probably a carry of 60m required so not as bad as it might have seemed.  On a green the usual etiquette is that furthest is away.  When one of the closer players made to proceed with his putt it was pointed out that another player was still further out.  The comment in response was ‘Oh well, Targe is rather easy to over-look’.

The Birthday Birdie has a little job to do this week and that is to send out a big birthday wish to Ryan who didn’t join us this week but presumably he did survive his important lunch date last week.

Results for Saturday, 21 April 2018
1st Craig Cameron(+4) 2nd Brendon Mitchell(+3) 3rd Rod Grant(+1) 3rd Matt Hunt(+1) 3rd Robert Priems(+1) 3rd Dennis Ward(+1) 4th Harry Boughen(□) 4th Trevor Jackson(□) 4th Targe Mifsud(□) 5th Stephen Kelly(-1) 5th Damien Lee(-1)

Seniors Results: 1st Craig Cameron (+4) 2nd Dennis Ward (+1) 2nd Rod Grant (+1) 3rd Harry Boughen (□) 3rd Targe Mifsud (□) 3rd Trevor Jackson (□)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin No 1 15th Jackpot ProPin No 2 18th Craig Cameron BallPin 4th Damien Lee

Eagle’s nest Results: Eagle 17th Brendon Mitchell

Club selection was easy for the Three Club Challenge on 14 April 2018.

Dale with a yahmulk.
Threesey peasey!

There was a lot of angst about today as sixteen members and one visitor milled about before tee time discussing the pros and cons of the clubs that they chose to leave in their bag for the duration.  Some were deciding by the end of the first hole that maybe they had made the wrong choice.  Should have taken less loft to keep the ball below the wind.  Should have taken more loft to get the ball to stay on the green.  Should have, should have!  And the wind was there and the rain held off almost to the very end.  And, in the end, there wasn’t a lot of rain before everybody finished (or at all for that matter).  So, you could say that a good day was had by all.  Except that Mal had to dash off for an urgent call of nature that we all hope was something simple and not a portent of something more serious.  Our visitor was none other that that long lost member of the Maltese Mafia, Tony, slightly taller, brother of Targe.

Now, it very often happens that people play in the three club challenge and go out and break their handicap.  Which , surely, must prove something.  Maybe it was the blustery conditions but it was not to be the case today.  The best that we could manage has a still very commendable 35 points gathered together by Dale.  And there is a very good chance that Dale could have had a break as he was noticed buying a round after the game.  It transpires that, on the third, Dale’s drive hit the tombstone and bounced back over his head to be well and truly behind the red markers.  However, his saving grace was apparently a putter ‘loaned’ to him by a mate that was sinking putts from all over.  The mate is going to have a hard time getting it back if that is the case.

Just a point behind Dale with 34 was  one of the Priems boys, Rob by name.  After a bit of a shaky start, Rob put together a bit of a run of pars which probably got his hopes up a bit before the golf gods struck him down on the 8th.  He must have made the correct sacrifices to them because he was rewarded with a birdie on the 11th for a massive four points.  That birdie was one of just four that were returned for the day.

SOS wasn’t too happy about his choice of clubs on the first or the second or the third.  However, he seems to have found his mojo after that and began racking up points at a good steady rate to finish the day with 32 and a spot on the 3rd podium level.  He was supposed to share the spot with Chrispy but, yet another scorecard malfunction served to relegate Chris to fourth spot which he then had to share with Bob.  Bob thinks that he might leave his driver at home from now on after putting in just as good a performance off the tee as he does with the heavier artillery.

And for a point, and they are not ashamed to take it, with 28 points were Porks and JQ.  JQ had to dash off, probably to a footy match or the races or somesuch.  Ryan hung around for a bit longer to hear his name mentioned in despatches before he, too, had to dash off for a very important luncheon date.

The BallPin today was on the 15th and the only thing on the card was a Mifsud which created a bit of confusion about which one until somebody realised that Tony was really Anthony and the name was A Mifsud.  There were Jackpots to be had on the ProPins today and there were some offers of sharing any spoils.  On the 12th, Jason managed to get his ball to 2.73m but there is no news on whether the pot was shared or not.  On the 18th, the pin was, once again, on the ‘difficult’ top deck and with the gale force winds blowing across the fairway it seemed like there was a good chance that the pot might go begging again.  However, Damo managed to finish his at 2.5m from the hole, having missed hitting the pin, and he seemed happy enough to be sharing the pot with his partners.  For some reason though, Chrispy kept trying to give his share back.

Joe did manage to get a few good shots away, particularly off the tee, but the short game seemed to be a bit prone to the ‘shanks’.  At one stage, Harry moved forward to his ball to have one of said shanks head very much in his direction.  One of Joe’s lesser tee shots was off the 13th.  Harry was so used to being shortest off the tee that he lined up and hit the first ball that he came to, only to be appraised of the fact that it was the wrong ball when Joe realised that he was looking at Harry’s, distinctively marked, ball rather than his own.

Dead umbrella
Who said they were storm-proof?

Yes, the wind was pretty much gale force.  Yes, it did start to rain.  Did the wind deter Jason from getting out his umbrella?  In a word, no!  And so you see the result of one very dead umbrella looking very much like some exotic bird with a broken wing fluttering around on the ground.  Maybe Santa will bring a new one for Christmas.

And, while we are thinking of presents, the Birthday Birdie thinks he might know why SOS was left baby-sitting today.  The family are probably off organising his birthday party for tomorrow.  Have a good one , mate.

Not only was the wind so strong that it nearly blew Targe off his feet, it also blew his tee shot from the 14th way off course as well.  That’s Targe’s story and he is sticking to it.  But he did inspect three balls further down the 16th fairway before admitting to the fact that his was the ‘closest to the (16th) green’.

Ed wasn’t too happy with his game but he reckoned he would have made a bigger mess of it if he had more clubs to chose from and so he was happy – that it was the three club challenge, that is.

We all know that Bob played a bit of cricket so he might be expected to be able to recognise a cricketer when he sees one.  But, to ask an expatriate from the USA (a well known cricketing nation) if he had played the game was perhaps stretching the friendship just a bit.  Though it must be admitted that Joe does have a short backswing and a big follow through.

Results for Saturday, 14 April 2018
1st Dale Webb(35) 2nd Robert Priems(34) 3rd Stephen O’Sullivan(32) 4th Bob McDonald(31) 4th Chris Priems(31) 5th Ryan Porker(28) 5th John Quinlan(28)

Seniors Results: 1st Bob McDonald (31) 2nd Harry Boughen (27) 3rd Ed Kloprogge (23)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin No 1 12th Jason Hopkins ProPin No 2 18th Damien Lee BallPin 15th Tony Mifsud

There was no fooling about for the April Monthly Medal on 07 April 2018.

Damo wins again
This is getting to be a habit!

With a Monthly Medal up for grabs and a beautiful autumn day in the offing, you could have been forgiven for expecting a record roll up.  It wasn’t quite that but nineteen members did make it and those of you who didn’t missed out on almost ideal conditions.  The greens had been trimmed to within an inch of their lives and, as a result, there was a strong opinion about that they were running very fast.  There wasn’t a Stimpmeter available to check but maybe that speed could go some way to explaining the lack of really good scores that might have been expected given the conditions.

So, at the end of the day, there was only one person to break their handicap and that was by a single stroke when Damo handed in a card with a nett 67 as the score-line.  To do that, Damien had to par the back nine and, in the process, put the lie to DennisT’s comment after a double bogie on the first to the effect of ‘there goes your medal’.  Three birdies along the way helped to redress the balance and accounted for almost half of the grand total of 7 birdies for the day.  One of Damo’s birdies was on the 17th after he put his drive to about a metre and a half from the pin and probably within reach of an Eagle and the (relatively small at this stage) Eagle’s Nest.  SOS pitched onto the green from some distance out and his ball collided with Damo’s.  The big question is, did his ball get put back into the correct spot?  And if it wasn’t, would he have made the putt if it had been?

Nearly almost!
How close can you go?

Pepsi has been known to let off some steam when a shot is not quite to his liking.  He let off more than a little steam today when his shot from the 18th tee went close to slam-dunking the hole, hit the pin and skittered back across the green and off down the slope at the front.  Unlike the infamous green at Augusta, there was no water waiting.  When the chip did not make it up to the top level and rolled back down towards the edge of the green, the steam (among other things) was really flying. The resulting bogie gave Andrew a 68 and he sat alongside Gordo on the podium is second place.

Ryan is very cunningly playing to, or round about his handicap and racking up points to keep his lead in the Championship Table without hurting his handicap too much.  A card without worse than a bogie is definitely well worth having.  Simon was also pretty pleased with himself as he went very close to playing to his recently acquired lower handicap.  And he reckons he wants to get it lower.  That’s the spirit we like to see.

Chrispy reckoned that he was playing very consistently, taking par and bogie alternately and that it was an improvement on recent form where he alternated par and double bogie.  The claim doesn’t quite hold up after a check of the card and the effect of his lack of form on his handicap seems to have caught him unawares and he obviously didn’t check the handicap sheet.  So, being as kindhearted as we are, the handicap malfunction was corrected and he moved up a spot in the ratings with a nett 72.  That put him alongside Harry and Darklands Dennis who both left a few out there.  Last to step up to the podium was none other than Mal who continues to put in some steady performances.

The BallPin today was on the 4th and Noodles was the only one to get his name on the card.  He was very keen to get his hands on the ball as he needed a replacement for losses today.  His losses were nothing on those suffered by others.  DennisW did several into the tank on the 17th on his way to a 10 for the hole.  But even he was eclipsed by Blighty who had to borrow a ball to finish the round after running out of his stock on the way to a 12 on the same, 17th, hole.  The two ProPins were on the 12th and 18th and nobody got to put their name on the card at either location so there will be Jackpots on both holes next week.

There were some matches played today and it was all a bit complicated.  After a series of withdrawals and replacements by reserves (it’s too complicated to explain in more detail), the two Rods (G and W) fought it out to a close run match which RodG looked to have a hold of at one stage when he was four up.  However, Whitey got his act together and clawed his way back to within 2 holes.  A run of losses on the last three holes saw Rod’s lead slip away and Whitey took the match 1 up.

Gordon took on Trevor and was never headed.  A run of three wins on the trot towards the end of the front nine pretty much sealed the match and although Trev managed to hold the fort he wasn’t able to break out and rush the trenches and the match went to Gordon 4 and 3.

Brendon fronted with his excuses all lined up.  He hadn’t played for a month.  He was sporting a new set of irons that he hadn’t played a round with.  And there were probably others.  But, he won the first hole and so maybe things weren’t going to be so bad after all.  Then, on the second, the new irons showed a remarkable tendency to draw the ball and at the end of the hole the match fell back to square.  Bren found it hard to lay off to allow for the draw and, if he did, the ball invariable flew straight and true and into trouble.  And so the deficit slowly ticked up and, despite a couple of lapses from Harry, the match finally went to Harry at 4 and 3.

Simon’s buggy needs to be sent to the Vet to be neutered as it was again trying to have its way with other member’s buggies today.  If Simon can’t keep it under control, the management will have to confiscate his remote.  Either that or he will have to attach the buggy to his belt with a bungy cord or an occy strap.  Allan is keen to set up a putting school to teach the art of putting with a wedge or a six iron or a rescue or a driver.  The reason is that those were the clubs that he was variously using today after he leaned nonchalantly on his putter while waiting to putt and the head parted company with the shaft.  The number of putts that he reported having after the break-down doesn’t inspire confidence in the success of his business.

Several people had problems with trees today.  If the tree on the 4th turns up its toes and dies then there is a fair chance you need look no further than Chrispy as he was threatening to poison it after a run-in with it today.  Trev had to negotiate through some trees on the 2nd with one only several metres in front.  He made very good contact with the ball which then made very good contact with the tree and it flew back over his head to finish about 50m behind where he started.  That probably accounted for at least one of the ‘go homes’.  SOS might have been ‘saved’ by the trees after he sliced his drive from the 9th so much that he shouted ‘fore’ to warn the walkers and riders on the path outside the course.  SOS didn’t quite believe it when Damo spotted his ball over by the 18th tee.

Mehm was one who opted out of the matchplay today.  It might have had something to do with his impending fatherhood or it might have had something to do with a birthday celebration.  The Birthday Birdie says have a happy one young fellah.  RodG also has a birthday celebration coming up.  He’s not quite such a young fellah but he did celebrate (or not) today by playing his age.  No, he’s not a centenarian, it was his nett score.  Happy Birthday anyway, Rod.

Results for Saturday, 07 April 2018
1st Damien Lee(67) 2nd Gordon Hill(68) 2nd Andrew Petricola(68) 3rd Ryan Porker(69) 3rd Simon Powell(69) 4th Harry Boughen(72) 4th Chris Priems(72) 4th Dennis Tiernan(72) 5th Malcolm Fleming(73)

Seniors Results: 1st Gordon Hill (68) 2nd Simon Powell (69) 3rd Dennis Tiernan (72) 3rd Harry Boughen (72)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin No 1 12th Jackpot ProPin No 2 18th Jackpot BallPin 4th Stephen Butterfield