According to reports, the number of people playing golf has boomed since the pandemic caused a rethink of contact sports and social distancing. Which begs the question, where the bloody hell are you? It is the first day of the school holidays, and the snow fields are open, but that probably goes only part way to explaining why we only had fourteen members on the tee this morning. There was some speculation that the inclusion of the syllable ‘par’ in the name of the competition might have contributed in some part as well. or, maybe, a lot of people just got better offers that they could not refuse. As it turned out, the weather was lovely, and, although the course was a bit squishy in places, there was no significant reason why you couldn’t make a score of some sort, particularly with the extra pluses on offer from the GrandPar format.
When ChrisJ smashed his drive a mile down the first, the first question he was asked was – what handicap are you playing off? His response of – twenty-one – resulted in deathly silence and a certain degree of disbelief. The plus on the first was not quite a foregone conclusion, but it was the result just the same. When he proceeded to par the second, and with two strokes in hand for a double plus, the stage certainly looked set for a round to be reckoned with. The pace did slacken a bit for the rest of the nine, and, despite an attempt to claim another ‘doubler’ on the 6th, the tally at the turn remained at a pretty respectable plus three. The flat stick was working pretty well, and a long curling putt on the 12th for a birdie racked up yet another genuine ‘doubler’. This was followed by another three plus scores that included pars on the 14th and 15th. Yet another par on the 16th resulted in the third doubler for the day, and this more than helped to bring home the bacon and his first win with the very impressive +8 points. These three doubles represented a fair proportion of the seven that we scored as a group.
Noodles also helped with the tally of doubles when he pitched in from about 40m out to birdie the 10th. Having taken the whole of the front nine to warm up, this effort was enough to inspire him to equal par on the back nine and turn his -3 at the turn into a +1 at the post. Brendon gets five of his eight strokes on the front nine and that helped him to stay in the event with +2 at the turn. The scoring was just a fraction harder to come by on the back and a final result of +1 was enough to score a share of second place. Whitey didn’t stray far from the centre-line, either on the course or on the score-card. There was one minor aberration on the 13th where he discovered that canines do not necessarily understand the meaning of the word ‘Fore’. A dog and his human on the track by the 13th were lucky to come off unscathed when his drive flirted with the dangers in that area. The human took evasive action, but the dog was oblivious.
Chrispy mounted the tee on the 8th and stated confidently – I reckon I can double point this one! The demon driver created by Damo’s coaching smacked one straight (I kid you not) down the left of centre. Just a pity that Damo was not here to witness the beauty of his work. CJ’s second, with the ‘wrong’ club (according to him) finished just off the green pin high. The putter rattled the ball into the hole for the ‘easiest’ of birdies and the ‘nominated’ double pointer. This helped CJ finish in positive territory at the turn, but, despite assurances that he would call more on the back, nothing eventuated and a square card was the best that he could round up to take out third place.
Michael was reported to be not particularly happy about the way that he played today, despite finishing just the one stroke outside his handicap for the round. He did pull his socks up on the back to finish in positive territory for that nine. SOS ended tied up with Michael, but with long strings of square results on the cards that could easily have been something better if the putter had been a little more friendly. Stefan rounded out the podium positions with his tally of -2. He had some complaints during the week about early starts and not being able to see his ball. This seems to have applied well into the round, as his group spent significant amounts of time searching for his ball on numerous occasions.
Despite holding the group behind up for what seemed like ages on the first, Michael and Stef were facing off toe to toe in their Matchplay semi-final. Both off five, it was bound to be decided stroke for stroke. Stef got away to a good start and looked as if he might have Michael’s measure to be three up after four holes. Michael’s early warm-up out the back and on the practice greens looked to be on the verge of paying off with a chance to square it up at the ninth. Stef’s par and Michael’s missed putt sent the result the other way. Another putting aberration on the 10th on Michael’s part resulted in a square, and this was seen to be the major factor in determining the final outcome. The match ran square from the thirteenth to the fifteenth, and went dormie one at the 17th. Michael’s loss on the 18th gave the match to Stef, 2 up.
The Jackpot ProPin on the 4th had not been claimed when the penultimate group went through and there was a hope, nay, an expectation, that there might be a double up for grabs next week. Unfortunately, Old Reliable was in the last group, and he managed to put his drive to 3.3m and stake a valid claim for the dosh. The first BallPin was on the 12th and the first two groups fought it out for that one with Stef coming out the victor after edging out Noodles. The 18th had the pin on the top deck, which always seems to challenge everybody to get it close. CJ was hopeful after he managed to edge out Whitey, but, in the end, it was up to Brendon to pip them at the post and collect the ball on offer. He wasn’t close enough, however, to score the birdie and that possibly goes some way to explaining why we only managed to score nine for the day.
The blue tees were well to the back on the 3rd and the reds were right at the front, so the stage was set to trap anybody who did not quite get it away off the tee. Whitey went close, but he did (late breaking news – didn’t) manage to get his ball past the dreaded red markers. Harry was not quite so lucky in picking this particular hole to ‘duff’ his drive and to register the only (late breaking news – second) authenticated draughtie for the day. Ken didn’t have the greatest of days, and he was so desperate to be ‘somewhere else’ that he sent one ball heading across the river in the direction of the Kew course over the way. Jim reckons he has worked out how to use his fancy new ‘watch’ and he was comparing notes with Brendon and his range-finder as they stood beside a ball on the 16th. After what seemed to be an age, it was pointed out that their balls were further up the fairway, and the ball they were standing over belonged to somebody playing the 14th. No wonder they were a hole and a half behind.
Results for Saturday, 26 June 2021
1st Chris James (+8) 2nd Stephen Butterfield (+1) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (+1) 2nd Rodney White (+1) 3rd Chris Priems (□) 4th Michael Gourlay (-1) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (-1) 5th Stefan Belevski (-2)
Seniors Results: 1st Rodney White (+1) 2nd Chris Priems (□) 3rd Michael Gourlay (-1)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Craig Cameron BallPin No 1 – 12th Stefan Belevski BallPin No 2 – 18th Brendon Mitchell
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ tee-marshals, gang aft agley! (with apologies to Robbie Burns). There were those who had to get away to see a man about a dog. There was Trev who couldn’t get a cart. There was Pepsi who couldn’t drive (don’t ask!). And, there was Stef, who was made an offer he couldn’t refuse to go watch some little known nag run at some little known country course. The fact that he does own a share of said little known nag might have contributed to the decision. In the process, he robbed Michael of the opportunity of playing a match where Michael actually received a stroke. It was just about enough to get CJ on the Snags. It wasn’t that he was hungry (at least no more than normal), it was that he was scheduled to go and visit with our erstwhile member and playing companion Craig (aka Snags) Sharp. So, after more ins and outs than a honeymooner’s tackle, 17 members teed off onto the course that was a bit wet underfoot in some places and a bit wet overfoot in others.
Now, the reason that Michael didn’t get to play with his coveted stroke allowance in the Matchplay was that he both topped the scoring today and broke his handicap. So, when he and Stef finally do get together to match off, there will be no strokes either way. Unless, of course, they can engineer it to gain or lose a stroke in the meantime. Michael did leave a few out there today, with some putts that were eminently gettable slipping by the hole. Of course, Michael was not alone in mastering the course as he was joined by Brendon who started off in fine style with a birdie on the first. A bit of a bad result on the third was followed by another birdie on the 4th, although he was obviously not within the 5m as the ProPin on that hole went begging and there will be a Jackpot to next week. A third birdie on the 17th made a fair contribution to the 12 that were carded for the day.
Old Reliable claims not to be all that reliable any more and this was borne out by half a dozen singletons on the card. But, there was also a fair smattering of three pointers, and so he was able to claim second place with his tally of 34 points for the round. Craig was pretty impressed by the new water feature on the 5th and reckons efforts should be made to keep the pond filled. MattH would have been fairly happy with his 18 points on the front after starting off with a zero on the first. The touch seems to have slipped just a bit on the back and the fifteen there gave him a third placing with 33 for the round. Harry flirted with the trees and OOB on the 3rd and a ball that was in the billabong, almost for sure, found its way back into play in the manner favoured by CJ. It ended up all for nought after some less than exemplary play around and on the green. So, despite being assessed as ‘playing well’ by some in the group, the final result of 32 points was just good enough to gather the two points for 4th place.
Jim took a few holes to warm up and then started to hit the ball like he meant it and the points started flowing. There were just a few interruptions to the flow as the day progressed, but, on the 18th he hit a cracking shot that showed promise to be worth a ball from the BallPin. Unfortunately, Michael got away a fairly ordinary tee shot that managed to finish less than half a metre from the hole to ‘rob’ Jim of a ball and probably scored him the inside ProPin as well. Jim did get the birdie for a nice little four-pointer to finish the day. ChrisJ took out the BallPin on the 12th, having made it close enough in the first group to close out the rest of the field, but not close enough to make the birdie. Chris took pretty much all of the front nine to warm up before sprinting home with 19 points to join in the group in fifth place. Brent, on the other hand, sprinted around the front nine to tally up twenty points, but seemed to have faded badly on the first half of the back before making enough of a recovery to finish on 31 points as well.
Gordo had some surgery during the week that will put him out of the golf picture for quite a few weeks. It remains to be seen whether his request to the surgeon to put in a new golf swing as well was complied with. Whatever the result of the latter, we wish Gordon a speedy recovery from the former and look forward to seeing him back at the ‘Hoe.
Speaking of new golf swings, Rob has decided that – It’s Time. Not to go into politics, but to have some lessons. Possibly this was influenced by today’s effort where he was tempted to dash off to Dan’s for a slab rather than buy from the bar. According to reports, he set a new Club record for the depth underground that he managed to hit the ball. It has to be conceded that the ground was pretty soft and muddy at the time. Noodles was pretty chuffed today with the birdie that he contributed to our tally. This was on the 13th and maybe the second time in his life that he has done it. A hybrid from the tee and a ‘blind’ seven iron put the ball to about 1m, and the putt pushed Noods just a little bit further in front in the Eclectic.
Bob definitely has the cart that just keeps on giving. Not sure exactly how it happened, but Bob managed to gash his finger, and had to bludge a Band-Aid from the ProShop to staunch the bleeding. Maybe that is why Bob claimed that it was the worst round he had ever played today. Or, have we heard that story somewhere before? Michael went to the 15th tee with no less than three clubs in hand. He reckoned it was perfect five iron distance for him, but there was no five iron to be seen. Mainly because he doesn’t carry one because he ‘doesn’t like the look of it’ after he shanked it a couple of times a while back. For a ‘perfect five iron distance’, his well-struck four finished pin high.
Results for Saturday, 19 June 2021
1st Michael Gourlay (37) 1st Brendon Mitchell (37) 2nd Craig Cameron (34) 3rd Matt Hunt (33) 4th Harry Boughen (32) 5th Jim Belevski (31) 5th Chris James (31) 5th Brent Rowley (31)
Seniors Results: 1st Michael Gourlay (37) 2nd Craig Cameron (34) 3rd Harry Boughen (32)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 12th Chris James BallPin No 2 – 18th Michael Gourlay
With a double-headed low swirling around off the Gippsland coast like a pimple on a teenagers chin, there were serious concerns about the chances of getting wet, either from water falling from the sky or from water rising up out of the river. The dire reports seem to have put more than a few people off playing with lack of registrations and cancellations leaving a mere fifteen members to fight it out for the all important Championship Points on offer for today’s Par round. Noodles lobbed up for the presentations with the excuse that he was up all night waiting for any emergency call-outs that might occur that required his multi-talents. The Beast also strolled in and there was some cock-and-bull story about him having slept in. Usually, it is Stan who uses that excuse. As it turned out, the weather remained fine, if overcast, and the river stayed within its banks (for the time being), so nobody got wet from above or below. And, despite the recent rains, the course was remarkably free of water for the most part and the only known plugged ball was Whitey’s approach to the 14th which buried itself to the waistline when it hit the green.
There were no flies on Blighty early in the round as he marred his card with a minus only once in the first nine to turn with a pretty impressive +4 on the bottom line. That line of form looked like continuing on the back until the 15th when he reportedly started to ‘think’ about his game. A run of three on the wrong side of the ledger dragged his final tally back to +2 for the round. It seems that CJ went along for his vaccination, and they injected him with a gramophone needle. As a result, he didn’t shut up for the whole round. The other thing that was unusual was that it was Blighty who was urging the group to ‘hurry up’. Stef played a mirror image game. He made his +4 on the back nine from a one under 32 off the stick and also finished with +2 to share the honours with the Blight.
Michael landed his tee shot on the 18th green only to have it spin back to finish millimetres further from the hole than Craig who took out the BallPin on that hole. Craig, in turn, had beaten out Stef who, reluctantly, put his name on the chit because he didn’t want to win a ball with that bad a shot. Anyway, Michael putted it up the hill and left the ball less than half a metre from the hole and promptly missed to leave his final score at -1. He was really crooked on himself for missing the putt as a square would have given him second place, would have dropped Old Reliable one place and a point, and would have pushed Ryan out of the points altogether. A potentially expensive outcome at the end of the year when the final tally is made. Mark started out well with only a single minus on the front nine. Unfortunately, he was unable to match that performance on the back, and he had to be satisfied to share the second spot with Michael and to be glad that Michael did miss that critical putt.
Gordon squeezed into third place with his -2. A very balanced round with -1 each half. Next cabs off the rank, just a single point behind, were Brendon and Craig who also played mirror image rounds with a square and a -3 each half. Brendon did claim to have pulled off a shot that he had not seen before when his drive from the 13th hit the tree on the right side of the fairway and finished OOB on the left side of the fairway. The ball must have been fairly travelling and hit the tree right in the ‘sweet spot’ to have managed that. And, thanks to Michael, Ryan rounded out the points podium today with his score of -4.
The last two matches of the quarter-finals were battled out today. Michael took on Bob and had to concede a pretty massive total of 23 strokes. This allowed Bob to maintain some sort of respectability, but a combination of good play by Michael and a few slips by Bob meant that the match went to Michael 5 and 4. The other match was fought out between Mark and Mehm, and this match followed a similar course to the previous one, although, in this case there was only a 2 stroke difference between the protagonists. And the score-line was exactly the same at 5 and 4. We are now down at the pointy end of the event with Michael to play Stef and Mark to play Brent sometime in the next several weeks to decide who gets to battle it out for the trophy and the all important Championship Points.
Everybody had plenty of time to warm up before they hit the ProPin on the 12th so, it was a bit disappointing that it was left to Brendon to take home the bacon with a shot to 3.9m. The BallPin on the 15th eventually fell to Gordon after Whitey had laid an early claim. Gordon didn’t get a birdie as a result of that particular shot, or any other for that matter, and so he did not contribute to the rather slim pickings of five that we managed for the day.
Harry missed some very gettable putts today, though he did get one on the 8th despite the pool noodle filler on the pin being caught up at near lip level. Note to self, always check the level of the ‘noodle’. Things didn’t improve much after the game when the temperature dropped, and he decided to put on his pullover. He still had his man-bag on his shoulder. Rather than take the pull-over off and on again, Harry didn’t quite dislocate his shoulder to extricate the strap down the tightly fitting sleeve. Jim played with the handicapper today, and appeared to be trying to justify his complaint about being under-handicapped. First, he was blaming the coaching videos that he watched during lockdown. Next, he decided it was the new ‘caddy’ watch that Stef had bought him because the weight was ‘unbalancing’ him, and it was giving him distances in yards. It was only after the round that he worked out that the units could be changed to metres. Anyway, the Birthday Birdie says have a good one later in the week, Jim. The same wish goes to MatthewV and any others that missed out over the last couple of weeks when the BB forgot to check his calendar.
And, in case you are wondering, there was a big discussion about the definition of a wood-chipped (garden) area. Stef was adamant that the area around the big trees near the maintenance area on the 3rd was wood=chipped and thus eligible for relief, while Gordon was just as adamant that it was merely fallen bark from the trees and not wood-chips. And, as for masks, that goes without saying.
CJ had to dash off early, as he had an important appointment in Bentleigh, and he was asking for suggestions as to the best way to get there. If the number of varied suggestions is any guide, CJ could be driving around in circles for some time. At least he might have a better chance of getting there rather than his thought that it was somewhere near Greensborough.
Results for Saturday, 12 June 2021
1st Stefan Belevski (+2) 1st Andrew Blight (+2) 2nd Michael Gourlay (-1) 2nd Mark Minney (-1) 3rd Gordon Hill (-2) 4th Craig Cameron (-3) 4th Brendon Mitchell (-3) 5th Ryan Porker (-4)
Seniors Results: 1st Andrew Blight (+2) 2nd Michael Gourlay (-1) 3rd Gordon Hill (-2)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 12th Brendon Mitchell BallPin No 1 – 15th Gordon Hill BallPin No 2 – 18th Craig Cameron
Well, the cards are all in, and everybody played much better than they expected. The results were so close (identical, in fact) that it was decided that, instead of doing a count-back for the whole field, there would be no Monthly Medal for June.
That was one possible scenario out of an infinite number for the outcome of today’s competition. The other scenario (actuality, actually) was that there was no competition because the circuit-breaker had been upgraded to deal with a higher voltage. They actually call it virulence, but it does start with a ‘v’. A Roman letter, not one of those Greek letters.
Anyway, we continue to live in hope that we will be allowed back on the track next Saturday to contest our next scheduled Par round. Oh goodie! I hear you all cry. Don’t fret, there will be Stableford the following week.
The deadlines for matchplay will continue to move out as the competition cannot progress until we get a result one way or another for the two remaining matches in the quarter-finals. Try to get it done guys. You have to arrange it between yourselves, in advance – don’t just turn up and hope. We’d hate to have any walk-overs at this late stage.
In the meantime, wear your mask, maintain your separation, wash your hands, check in, get vaccinated, don’t panic buy, etc, etc.