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It was a bit of a Whitewash on 27 July 2019.

I reckon I deserve this!

The whole club was on tenterhooks. Would JQ make it from the airport on time? Would Porks be sober after the staff party? Could Whitey put together another good round? Would any more first rounders drop out? Would any more casuals turn up? So many questions, so few answers. In the end, JQ did make it in plenty, Porks was sober and we had a field of 23 players which meant that over a third of the field was there for the love of the game. Mehmet even said that he only came because he wanted to play golf, it was just a bit of a pity that he didn’t really (play golf, that is). The course was pretty soggy in places and the preferred lies were welcome as the ball seemed to pick up mud without even moving. There were even a couple of cases where the ball went deeper underground than along the ground. Chrispy reckoned he had a new club in his bag, called a shovel. Maybe he should be looking for a job on the City Loop as well.

So, how did things pan out on the day then. Well, the round of the day went to Matt. Fairly obviously, the surgical intervention took an extra week to kick in and Matt fairly kicked arse today to complete the back nine in 2 under the par for 23 points and a round total of 40. When put together with his field tailing round last week, this gave him a chance of scoring a point at least for his troubles and the cut to his handicap. But more of that later.

Despite some concerns that the pressure of leadership might weigh heavily on his shoulders, Whitey managed to keep his eye on the ball, his bat on the crease and his pads in front of the wicket to block his way to a pretty respectable 36 points for a grand total of 75 for the event to take the Fred Howe Trophy for 2019. Not a bad win for his first Major. Early in the round there was a hint that the wheels could fall off with a gash on the 2nd and a drive OOB on the 4th. The chip in from about 20m out saved the hole.

The card sported quite a few singles but a massive four on the last ball of the day really put the sealer on the result. The birdie that gave him that result was one of eleven for the day and it also scored him the double BallPin on the 18th. This was after some unreliable types forgot to put the marker out on the 15th where it was supposed to be. If you can’t trust the Club executive who can you trust? Then again, SOS was probably distracted by all of the chatter about BitCoin, BrainCoin and so on and so forth with Mehm and Stef. Or, maybe, they just didn’t have time, as they managed to finish at least two holes in front of the next group despite being held up by a group of interlopers after the 13th. They did have to get the bar-be-gue going to make sure that the hordes did not have to wait around for their tucker.

Brendon managed to improve his overall ranking by putting together the second best card for the day and he did express the view that he had let himself down a bit on the back nine. JQ did not appear to have been affected by jet-lag and played right to his handicap to stay level with Brendon and share second place. The flat blade was working well and it was estimated that John had sunk putts totalling 150m in the round which, if anywhere near the truth, was a remarkable result.

Peter was stamping around impatiently on the 17th tee waiting for the bell to be rung (which it wasn’t, much to his chagrin). Not sure if he made the green or not but he did manage to par the hole, which brought his score up to 34 for the day and his event total of 67 placed him third overall. Allan tried to sneak in an extra point on the 16th and he had to be relegated to fourth place as a result. This proved to be a bit of a disappointment for Matt as it meant that Dennis, Rob and Targe dropped back into 5th place to take the last points on offer.

There was a double Jackpot on offer for the ProPin today and it was placed back in its rightful place on the 12th hole, Porks, Harry and Ken agreed to share. Ryan was on line but got it fat and finished short. Harry’s length was good but way right while Ken finished too far to the left. So, it was left to Rob to put his name on the card at 4.3m and Rob didn’t agree to share with anyone.

Now, it seems that Targe had a bit of a dose of the shanks today and each time that he shanked one, the ball headed in the direction of Allan. In the end, Targe wanted Allan to stand near the pin on the basis that that was where the ball would finish. One member did comment that Allan and Thunderbird reminded him a bit of Stephen Hawking. And reports have it that Thunderbird did struggle a bit on some of the wet steeper slopes.

Ryan had a lesson during the week and the swing analysis showed that he had some nasty ‘outside-in’. The fix at the lesson was some alignment sticks. The fix today seemed to be to drop-kick the ball to keep it straight and send it a mile. It didn’t quite work on the 4th with the first OOB on the right and the provisional lost way to the left. Simon (aka Thor) was saved by his recent efforts around the course. His drive on the 12th was in the drink for sure until the ball hit one of his nicely painted red stakes that saved it from the water if not the penalty area. And, Simon didn’t take a lesson from last week and mis-scored on the 18th (again!).

The bar-be-que after was expertly catered by Brendon (or Mrs Brendon maybe) and expertly cooked by Matt and SOS although the onions were a bit beyond it by the time the last group came in. Stef and Mehm watched on while Mehm filled out his footy tips by backing the opposite of what Noodles predicted. Si reckoned it was nice to be fed by two coppers and not be in jail. The voice of experience?

Results for Saturday, 27 July 2019
1st Rodney White(39, 36, 75) 2nd John Quinlan(35, 36, 71) 2nd Brendon Mitchell(33, 38, 71) 3rd Peter Damou(33, 34, 67) 4th Allan Davies(31, 35, 66) 5th Dennis Ward(33, 32, 65) 5th Robert Priems(31, 34, 65) 5th Targe Mifsud(30, 35, 65)

Seniors Results: 1st Allan Davies (31,35,66) 2nd Dennis Ward (32,33,65) 2nd Targe Mifsud (35,30,65) 3rd Bill Eastoe (33,31,64)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin12th Robert Priems BallPin No 1 18th Rodney White BallPin No 2 18th Rodney White

Howzat! Stumps on Day 1 – 20 July 2019.

Rod White leader
I can’t remember the last time I scored this many!

As you might expect for the first day of the Fred Howe Winter Cup, the weather was cold. There was a little wind but nothing to freeze your whatsies off. And it was a lovely fine sunny day. With a big trophy and lots of points on offer it is not surprising that 21 members turned up with their hopes high and hoping to keep their strokes low. Trev tried his hand again but, unfortunately, had to call it quits after nine. Let’s hope that whatever it is that is causing the problem settles down soon and Trev can get back to enjoying the game that he obviously loves. So, what of the twenty remaining contenders for the honour and glory. There were lunatics and ballerinas. There were diggers and dealers. And, there were woulders and coulders.

When the umpires took off the bails at the end of day one, Whitey was still at the crease with 81 runs on the board and 39 points to his name to post a handy lead for the opposition to chase. There were a few chances with nicks through the slips cordon but the ever nimble Rod was able to steal a single and keep the scoreboard ticking over. Definitely the one to catch next week.

JQ is flying back in from where ever he has flown out to and so he might have to deal with some jet-lag if he is going to make up the four points that separates him from the lead. The margin might have been smaller had the little fella not taken quite so many singles although he did compensate by snagging a couple of birdies to improve his eclectic and helped us to get to the grand total of six for the day. One of the other birdies for the day was down to Peter and it was an eclectic counter as well and so his lead in the event is even more comfortable than before.

There must be something about the 18th that Simon doesn’t think he deserves a stroke on it as, once again, he (and his marker) sold himself short in the points tally. As a result, Si is now filling third place on the leaderboard on his own. He obviously has hopes of catching the leader as he was spotted heading out for even more practice at the course during the week.

Peter, Damo, Brendon and Dennis have got a bit of work to do but, if they can fill in the gaps that they left in their cards in this innings they could be in there with a chance. Blighty, who just happened to be Simon’s marker, also had a blooper on his card and that separated him from a veritable pack of players one point further back on 31 points. He will probably have to dance to a different tune next week though.

If you can’t trust a senior Committee member, who can you trust. The ProPin was a Jackpot on the 12th and an unnamed Vice-President was detailed to put the markers out. Guess what, he forgot! So, the marker went out on the 18th. Along comes an unnamed President and puts his name on the chit with a distance of 6.45m. Errrmmmm, isn’t there a limit of 5m? Good news everybody, it’s a double Jackpot next week (probably on the 12th, but who knows!). The first BallPin was on the 15th and that went to (who else) Brendon while JQ will just have to be content with the BallPin from the 18th.

Ryan is doing his best to keep the golf ball manufacturing industry alive and the stray count probably goes some way to explain his position on the Leaderboard. The list of MIA includes drive on first, approach on 6th, drive on 14th (*3) OOB. What you would call, not a good result. Noodles reckons that he woulder done a lot better if only he coulder sunk a putt. It’s understandable that he could miss them right and left but how you can miss them centre takes some explaining. Maybe Bob can after one of his reportedly hit dead centre, disappeared from sight only to reappear and finish about 300mm from the hole. Probably hit the bottom of the cup too hard and bounced out. What Bob had to say is probably unprintable.

Rob is thinking of applying for a job on the Underground loop project after taking an absolutely huge divot on the 18th tee that sprayed the whole group with dirt and mud. Matt, who is back for the first time after his knee job was not impressed. It also seems that the surgeon forgot to include the golf swing improvements that Matt asked for. Rob is giving no quarter in his match off with Matt and claimed his win today.

Results for Saturday, 20 July 2019
Leaderboard Round 1: 1st Rodney White(39) 2nd John Quinlan(35) 3rd Simon Powell(34) 4th Peter Damou(33) 4th Damien Lee(33) 4th Brendon Mitchell(33) 4th Dennis Ward(33) 5th Andrew Blight(32)

Seniors Leaderboard: 1st Simon Powell (34) 2nd Dennis Ward (33) 3rd Andrew Blight (32)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin18th Jackpot BallPin No 1 15th Brendon Mitchell BallPin No 2 18th John Quinlan

It was a Chill wind on 13 July 2019

What have I done to deserve this?

And it blew nobody good! But, thirteen foolhardy souls braved the significant chill factor and hit off into the gloom with a bit of a shower threatening to make the day even more miserable. Then the sun came out. Then it clouded over. Then the wind sprang up. Then it rained a bit. Then the sun came out. All in all, a fairly typical winter’s day in Melbourne. Mostly the field was pretty well rugged up for the conditions although there were a few of the usual suspects out there in their bare legs and trying to put a brave face on it. Simon had his wet weather gear on and had a bit of trouble with his pockets and things kept falling out of the leg of his trousers. And, no, it wasn’t balls (golf balls that is), it was the controller for his cart. Heading down the hill on the 17th, the controller hit the bitumen and spilled its proverbial guts. Meantime, the cart just kept on rolling as Si chased on after it, trying to get the batteries back in while trying to keep within range so that he could stop the thing from damaging somebody or itself, or throwing itself into the Yarra. Who said the robots were going to take over?

Gordon reckons he is still trapped in Gotham City and The Tjoker is wild as he failed to capitalise on a pretty speccy front nine of 21 points. The extra fourteen on the back was just enough to bring him in at 35 points for a share of first place. JQ turned in a remarkably similar card as far as totals went but he managed to get around without a miss on the card. He also landed three birdies on fresh holes for the Eclectic and scored a fair proportion of the eight that we managed for the day. His birdie on the 12th was the result of rattling in a 7m putt just moments after putting heaps on Dave who had rattled in a 9m putt for his birdie as well.

Once again the second place podium was pretty well crowded as Dave, Porks, SOS and Dennis jostled to get a toe-hold on the step. Ryan’s placing was thanks, in no little part, to the last three holes that were completed in just nine strokes for a tally of 10 points. His birdie on the 16th was thanks to a brilliant eight iron from amongst and over the trees to within millimetres of the pin. Dave might have played better except that he managed to lose his range-finder. Fortunately, SOS, honest cop that he is, found it and returned it safely to Dave’s hands, There was a rumour that Porks argued vigourously in favour of posting it on eBay. The handicapper was obviously too lenient on Dennis after his win last week.

On the other hand, Targe obviously hasn’t caught up with where he gets two strokes but, even so, he still came into third place. A couple of fat ladies did not help the cause on the scoring front. Harry struggled with the putting today and a number of triple headers caused more than a little heart-break. Even more heart-breaking was the result of the drive to the 15th green.

Why didn’t I play that shot when the hole was there?

That would have to be what you call a Claytons! Maybe next time.

The Beast must also be unused to his handicap as he neglected to recall that he had a stroke on the 18th and his marker was asleep as well. So, Bill was able to claim fifth spot by himself as the correction put him just in front of Simon. Sorry Si. But at least you got your birdie on the 7th with what you yourself described as a pair of brilliant golf shots.

There is almost enough room to publish the list of players who didn’t collect points but that would be a bit harsh. Chrispy is not sure whether he is happy with his new handicap as he thought it would allow him to be more competitive. It is suspected that he wasn’t being serious when he said he wanted to go back to his old handicap. Dale was seen buying a round of drinks and the immediate thought was that he had scored a draughtie. However, it seems that his misdemeanour was that he had taken a putt on the first and over-cooked it so much that the ball finished off the green. Bill did have a worried look on the second after he absolutely smashed the ball off the tee, high into the trees on the right from which it did its level best to get back to the red markers but didn’t quite make it. Peter was keen to get away after the game, just as soon as he had finished his sandwich – and helping the young lady wash down her buggy at the hose station.

Next week is the first round of the Fred Howe Winter event. Another two weeks of Stableford so you can’t blame the competition for not turning up. The tee marshalls are planning to do a random draw to fill the groups so they would like a nice early roll-up so that it can be done in good time for the first tee. The sun is starting to rise earlier and so should you.

Results for Saturday, 13 July 2019
1st Gordon Hill(35) 1st John Quinlan(35) 2nd David Mullenger(34) 2nd Ryan Porker(34) 2nd Stephen O’Sullivan(34) 2nd Dennis Ward(34) 3rd Targe Mifsud(33) 4th Harry Boughen(28) 5th Bill Eastoe(27)

Seniors Results: 1st Gordon Hill (35) 2nd Dennis Ward (34) 3rd Targe Mifsud (33)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin12th Jackpot BallPin No 1 4th John Quinlan BallPin No 2 18th David Mullenger

There were Medals and Matches on 06 July 2019

I thought I had blown my chances on Thursday!

The days are getting longer but nobody seems to have told the sun about getting up any earlier. The game was about three or four holes before any rays started to make their presence felt around the course. It took even longer for the chill to come off the air but, by the thirteenth or fourteenth, it was getting downright tropical and some of the layers had to be stripped off. All in all, a beautiful day for golf and it was perhaps a little disappointing that only 18 and a half players turned out to contest for the July Monthly Medal. Why only eighteen and a half, you might ask. Well there were actually nineteen started but Trev had to depart after nine. The course looks quite green but, when you look around for your ‘place’ when taking preferred lie, it is sometimes a but hard to fins an actual grassy spot within range. The third green is still looking pretty average but the curators have relocated the temporary green a bit. Probably because the original position was taking too much wear and was thought to be unfair. There is a fair chance that the old green will not be back in service before spring, provided, of course, that the hoons stay away.

As Dennis finished his ‘practice’ round on Thursday he opined that he had probably blown his chances for the week-end by having had a good one. But, as always, the cream rises to the top of the milk jar and Dennis backed up again today to take out the medal that was on offer. He did say that he was a bit disappointed that he had taken one more stroke today than he did on Thursday. Regardless, an 85 off the beater for a nett 66 is pretty good in anybody’s terms and fitted in precisely with SOS’s prediction during the round that two under would win the day.

Peter was hanging around the 18th green watching the groups come in. It turns out there were a couple of reasons for this. First, he had his name on the marker for the BallPin and he was very keen to see if anyone could knock him off. Second, at that stage, he was the Club House Leader and he was anxiously sussing out scores to see whether he would get beaten. He was really ruing a couple of missed putts and, particularly, the ‘fat lady’ on the 14th. Still and all, his final tally of 67 was still pretty good.

It’s been a while since the Beast has graced us with his presence but he would not divulge whether he had been off to China or Mexico or where ever he goes to practice his golf. He certainly showed few signs that he had forgotten how to hit a golf ball and the power draw was in evidence on a number of occasions. Almost a mirror image of Chrispy’s power fade as the ball powered over trees (and fences) to turn back in and finish in the centre of the fairway. Bill was a bit concerned about ‘winning’ as his absences put him out of the running for the medal itself. Gordon, on the other hand, would have loved to have won and he started out in fine form and tallied 38 off the beater on the front. Then he ran into the lesser known Batman villain known as The Tjoker and could only play to his handicap overall and join Bill on the podium.

Then there was quite a gap to 4th place and a veritable herd of players came in with 73. These four Musketeers were Noodles, Targe, Rob and JQ. Noodles and JQ played off for third place in the Matchplay final and it was a pretty close run thing all day. John did garner a bit of an advantage mid round after sinking a 10m putt on the 11th and almost broke Stephen’s heart. Noodles had gotten his nose in front by the 17th and looked like hammering the last nail in the coffin by chipping close. Unfazed, JQ went not quite as close but both made the birdies to halve the hole and the match went dormie for the last. As an aside, those two birdies made up a fair proportion of the five that were carded for the day. A square on the last gave the match and third place to Noodles.

SOS and Chris teamed up on 74 to take out the final set of points for the day. SOS had, probably, one of the best results of the day on the third hole. His drive caught ‘the tree’ and finished in the penalty area with not much open space to deal with. The exit wasn’t great but in the right general direction. His chip never looked like missing except that it was going a ‘million miles an hour’ and, if it hadn’t hit the pin dead centre and dropped into the hole, it could easily have been out of bounds. That’s one way to get a par.

The big match of the day was between Dave and Porks. Now, Ryan made a bit of a mistake and had a big win a few weeks back which meant that he only got four strokes from Dave. And, unfortunately, Ryan was not able to reproduce that winning form today. Despite that he did manage to hold on reasonably well until after the turn when four losses in a row handed the match and the Matchplay Championship trophy to Dave, 5 and 4. Dave’s view was that it was a good match but pretty ordinary golf. And the points did no harm to his potential standing in the Vardon Trophy Table. Now he just has to turn up the requisite number of times.

The ProPin today was on the 12th and, with the pin placed to the right front, the lie of the land took its toll on quite a number of aspirants. For one aspirant, though, it was no problem and Rob was able to get his to 4.255m. The extra precision was obviously in case it was a close run thing. The second BallPin was on the 15th and Pepsi was the only one to get his name on the card if not the only one to get his ball on the green. And, as somebody, probably unkindly, put it, it was the only shot he made for the day.

There were rumours that Pepsi was playing with a Wilson ball but it is a fact that Harry found one on the third. It is also a fact that Dennis played his full round with one, and the same one at that, and he will have none of it that Wilson are not worth playing with or for. At the other end of the scale, Brendon reckons he was losing balls right, left and centre. Now the course is cut pretty short, so the centre thing is a bit hard to believe.

There were a few draughties today. Ken and Rob were overheard saying that theirs cancelled out after Rob didn’t make the reds on the 2nd and Ken missed out on the 15th. Dave had a bit of a shocker on the 3rd when his first went over the fence and out and then his replay did not make it to the reds although it did hit a tree and come back. And the group in front were concerned that he might drive the green! The Beast and Chris both had moments when drives caught trees dead centre and came dangerously close back to the reds. Ken, on the other hand, managed to get one shot to finish lodged up in a bush about a metre off the ground. A baseball bat might have been the appropriate club to use.

Results for Saturday, 06 July 2019
1st Dennis Ward(66) 2nd Peter Damou(67) 3rd Bill Eastoe(68) 3rd Gordon Hill(68) 4th Stephen Butterfield(73) 4th Targe Mifsud(73) 4th Robert Priems(73) 4th John Quinlan(73) 5th Stephen O’Sullivan(74) 5th Chris Vinecombe(74)

Seniors Results: 1st Dennis Ward (66) 2nd Bill Eastoe (68) 2nd Gordon Hill (68) 3rd Targe Mifsud (73)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin12th Robert Priems BallPin No 1 15th Andrew Petricola BallPin No 2 18th Peter Damou