It was a lovely autumn day in Melbourne, although it did take a while for the temperature to drag itself into the 20s. The course was in tip-top condition, and the scene was much enlivened by a good number of bright (and sometimes ugly) Hawaiian style shirts to channel the style of Stuart on his Memorial Day. Of course, Rodger was here again, and he repeated his claim that, one day, he is going to hold the trophy aloft himself. Unfortunately there were a number of withdrawals due to the dreaded lurgi, but we ended up with seventeen members on the tees, and that included Allan and Whitey, who has just completed an illustrious season with the flannelled fools. His team managed to win the grand final by a single run, thanks to a great bowling spell by our man in the final over of the match, where he took two wickets for two runs. Bobbie turned up for the barbeque afterwards, and we finally have an explanation for his recent absence from the field. It seems he has a bad case of gunslinger’s finger that prevents him from holding the club in his inimitable style. Hopefully it will loosen up soon, and we will see him back to take on the world once more.
The field was fairly well bunched up after the first week, and so there was a lot of interest in how today’s event would pan out to decide the eventual winner. If Targe hadn’t had a previous commitment to go to Nurmurkah last week, then there might have been an entirely different announcement to make. Because, for the day, Targe pretty much blitzed the field to turn in the top score of 40 points. However, not far behind him on 38 points was Stan, who, with his very steady 34 points last week, finished with a total of 72 for the event. Pepsi was last week’s leader, and he finished the day a few points further back with 35 which meant that he, too, finished on 72 total for the event. As there can be only one winner, the rules provide that a countback on today’s round will decide the result, and Stan’s 20 points on the back nine was more than enough to beat out Pepsi with 18 points. As a result, Stan was declared the winner of the 2022 Stuart Clarke Memorial Trophy. Pepsi was just a little bit cheesed that he had missed an eminently gettable putt that lipped out on the 18th to drop the chance to get his name on the trophy again.
Craig put in another steady and reliable round to keep the points rolling in without doing any harm to his handicap to gather second place. Ken, and his marker, got a bit carried away on the 18th and tried to claim five points for a par with two strokes to play with. This little slip dropped Ken back to a share of third place with Brendon, who had what he considers to be an ‘average’ (below?) round. One highlight for Brendon was the occasion of playing his 400th round with the club. ChrisJ continues to be unfazed by his newish handicap, and improved on last week’s performance to take out 4th place with his total of 66 points. Last, but by no means least, was CJ himself, who continued to make use of the trees to his advantage even when they are no longer there. The stump of the pine tree on the 11th was more than willing to put his ball back into the fairway.
For the nearest the pin competitions, the first BallPin was on the 4th, and Brendon was able to get it close enough to win yet another ball. Another consistent ball bandit took out the prize on the 18th in the person of Craig. The ProPin on the 15th was a Jackpot, and, for a while, it looked as if Blighty was going to be the happy chappy. Pepsi spoiled the party, took the money and sank the putt for a birdie to bring our total for the day to 10.
After the round, there was the usual barbeque, which was described as sumptuous and grilled to perfection by the three budding MasterChefs, Matt, Keith and Blighty. Maybe there is another role for Keith in TV land. There was a good deal of chin-wagging and reminiscing indulged in until a rather small number of members adjourned to the function room for the Club Annual General Meeting. The necessary statutory business was dealt with and the makeup of the Committee was confirmed with only minor changes from that of last year. The minutes of the meeting with full details will be circulated shortly.
Results for Saturday, 26 March 2022
1st Winner Stan Blackshaw(34, 38, 72) (c/b) 1st Andrew Petricola(37, 35, 72) 2nd Craig Cameron(34, 35, 69) 3rd Ken Watson(33, 35, 68) 3rd Brendon Mitchell(36, 32, 68) 4th Chris James(32, 34, 66) 5th Chris Priems(32, 33, 65)
Seniors Results – 1st Stan Blackshaw(34, 38, 72) 2nd Craig Cameron(34, 35, 69) 3rd Ken Watson(33, 35, 68)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Andrew Petricola BallPin No 1 – 4th Brendon Mitchell BallPin No 2 – 18th Craig Cameron
Somebody was looking after the weather for the first round of the Stuart Clarke memorial. The BOM had promised a cool morning, followed by a pretty warm day, and that is pretty much how it turned out. There was a full moon hanging prettily over the first fairway as the first group was teeing off, and further afield there was a bevy of balloons taking advantage of the dead still air. We ended up with nineteen players out there to chance their arm for a tilt at the big one, and that included Stuart’s Dad, Rodger. It seems that Rodger was very happy to be back at the ‘Hoe, and was looking forward to showing off some of his style around the course. The optimism was slightly misplaced, and a few ‘bad’ holes knocked a fair dent in the final score. Undaunted, he plans to be back next week, Hawaiian shirt and all, to see more of our smiling faces, and to honour Stuart fittingly.
Who then has the best chance of being presented the trophy by Rodger if it isn’t going to be himself. During the announcements, the Captain was moved to express the view that conditions must have been pretty awful when only two of our motley crew managed to break their handicap, and then, only by the one stroke. Harry started off gang-busters with two pars in the first three holes, by which time, Brendon and CJ were suggesting that the trophy was well within his grasp in an obvious attempt to put the mockers on him. Little did they know that H had a little secret – he won’t be playing next week! Pepsi was keen to get away as he had an important race meeting to get to. So he set a cracking pace as well, but, like Harry, he faded marginally in the home straight, and also came in with the scoreline of 37 points. Let’s hope his horses didn’t do the same on the track.
Brendon wasn’t too happy about a missed putt on the first, but he compensated slightly with a three point par on the second. The drive on the third was what you might call ‘less than spectacular’. But, after his usual careful measurement of the distance to the pin, he fairly cracked it and the ball finished on the green, although it was still a long way from the hole. Undaunted, he gave it a fair whack, and it rolled gently into the hole for a birdie and four points. Another birdie and four points on the 4th had the signs looking good, and contributed nicely to our tally of 12 birdies for the day. Some over-enthusiastic chipping on the back nine brought the score back to the field, and he managed second place with his 36 points.
Stan went through a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the round after quite a good start. On the walk from the 9th to the 10th, he refocused to be able to see himself as the ball flying to the target, and refound his early form, although he did forget a stroke that he got on the 16th, which elevated him to a share of third on the leader board. There were conflicting reports about Craig’s game. Punishment of trees featured in one, while another reported his usual straight down the middle style. Something obviously did go awry from time to time, but a good smattering of three pointers allowed a 34 point finish and a share of third spot.
Ben and Ken both finished with 33 points and share the fourth spot on the leaderboard. Their cards turned out to be something of a mirror image. Ben had 19/14, while Ken had 14/19. How about that! ChrisJ took about six holes to warm up, but then he really got the engine revving to finish up with 32 points. The other Chris (aka CJ), on the other hand, played two equal hands to fit into 5th spot. So, with only five points between the leader and fifth place, there is every prospect that there will be a battle royal for the big honour next week. Sparks could very well fly! And, some of the ‘outsiders’ are not all that far away!
The Jackpot BallPin from last week was on the 4th, and Pepsi blocked out all comers by putting it close enough in the first group. He also managed to get his name on the 18th BallPin, but he was taken out by Brendon who put his to 11.1m. Surely, he couldn’t win the inside ProPin two weeks in a row from distances like that! The ProPin was on the 15th, and, although Harry finished pin high and within 5m, he was about a metre off the green, and so, there will be a nice little Jackpot to play for next week.
There were three matches played today. Matt was up against the Beast, and it was an off-the-stick affair, with them both playing off 9. Beast jumped away to a healthy lead, and soon had three holes up his sleeve. Then, according to him, he decided to torture Matt by letting him think he had a chance of winning the match. After going all square at the 11th, the score fluctuated and went dormie at the 17th. Beast won the 18th and took the match 2 up. Pepsi had to give Benny eleven strokes, and, for a while, Ben had the advantage, but was just unable to build any sort of a lead. Pepsi pounced around the turn, and, although Ben fought valiantly, he was not able to deliver the killer blow. The result was determined at the 17th with Pepsi two up. ChrisJ took some first tee lessons on how to score Matchplay and faced the daunting task of giving Rob thirteen strokes. On the front nine, this took a bit of a toll, and Rob enjoyed the front running for most of the nine. The fortune then favoured Chris, and he made his way to a two hole lead. Rob wasn’t finished, and with some strokes up his sleeve, he looked to have a chance to make a comeback. That is until Chris chipped in from well out for a par on the 16th, which just about broke Rob’s heart and made the match dormie 2. Then, to rub salt into the wound, on the 17th Chris was completely blindsided by trees for his second shot and called on Rob for guidance as to the location of the pin. The resultant shot finished in almost gimme position for the birdie, which beat Rob’s par to give the match to Chris 3 and 1.
Porks has taken a good lead in the Eclectic, thanks to yet another eagle. This time on the 17th, where his drive finished within a metre or so of the hole. Pretty slim pickings from the Eagle’s Nest though, as he had cleaned it out just last week. The poor old eagle is getting pretty twitchy every time he sees Ryan walk up to the tee. Keith turned up this morning wearing his Hawaiian shirt, having jumped the gun by a week for the tradition that the Club encourages as a mark of respect for Stuart. So, if you haven’t got one, Savers and other similar establishments are a good spot to try. If you have got one, get the better half to give it a wash to get rid of the tomato sauce stains from last year. Or even better, do it yourself!
Don’t forget the barbeque afterwards. Always a good feed of burgers, snags, onions and salad to satisfy the inner man. And then, hang around for the Club Annual General Meeting to take care of the business that Craig sent to you earlier in the week. You have read it, haven’t you?
Results for Saturday, 19 March 2022
Leaderboard Round 1: 1st Harry Boughen (37) 1st Andrew Petricola (37) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (36) 3rd Stan Blackshaw (34) 3rd Craig Cameron (34) 4th Ben Akdag (33) 4th Ken Watson (33) 5th Chris James (32) 5th Chris Priems (32)
Seniors Leaderboard Round 1: 1st Harry Boughen (37) 2nd Stan Blackshaw (34) 2nd Craig Cameron (34) 3rd Ken Watson (33)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 4th Andrew Petricola BallPin No 2 – 18th Brendon Mitchell
Eagle’s Nest Results: Eagle – 17th Ryan Porker
It must be the change in the season. There was a little autumn chill in the air as eighteen members gathered around to take their chances with the last round before the Stuart Clarke Memorial kicks off next week. Geoff came along as well and submitted his third card so that he will be able to join the fray to compete for points and ball runs and Eagle’s nests and trophies and all the other benefits of being a member. As the sun climbed higher, the light improved and there was a slight reduction in the cries of “Did you see where that went?”, although not much, if you ask Ben!. The temperature climbed, the jackets came off, and, in some cases, the golf improved. There were the usual complaints about it being a Par competition, and why couldn’t it have been GrandPar. Not to worry, the next two weeks will be Stableford, so no excuses for not turning up.
Now, Anthony has a little tacker who has some sort of sport on Saturdays, but AB was able to tear himself away today, just to prove that he hasn’t forgotten about the Club. Not sure whether he gets to practice his golf swing at kids sports, but he seems to have had it pretty well grooved today. So much so that he was able to turn with plus 3, and he was able to hold it to square on the back so that he filled half of the top spot. Stan also has to dash away early to take care of family duties, although he did hang around for a bit today to have a bit of a chat with the Prez. Stan only had a couple of minuses on the card, so, except for a couple of putts, the round could easily have been a screamer. The downside is that both will have to get used to playing with fewer strokes up their sleeve in future.
Now, before we deal with second place, just be clear that you and your marker should agree strokes and points on a hole by hole basis, not just the totals. In theory, you sign for the strokes taken, and the points are allocated accordingly. In practice, with us, discrepancies are investigated and the player’s record is given the benefit of the doubt. Thus it was, that compensating errors allowed Blighty’s score and placing to stand, with a tally of two on the credit side of the ledger and second spot on the podium. There is no truth to the rumour that the Club is setting up a Go-fund-me to pay for Blighty’s haircut.
Ben has been trying out a new swing on the driving range, where he reckons it was working a treat. Things didn’t go quite so well today on the course, and one effort, on the 3rd, resulted in the only reported draughtie for the day. Another attempt on the 13th narrowly missed a similar fate. A temporary switch to a ‘scabby’ Dunlop that he found in the rough, turned his game around somewhat, and for a while he was declaring his undying love. What is there to say about Porks? Things hadn’t been going too well, and at the turn the debit side was showing four. It must be said that he was also in a life and death battle with CJ in the Matchplay, and was looking death in the eye in that department as well. The turn brought a change in fortune, but the 12th looked like a make or break hole where he had to give CJ a stroke. So, what does he do but smash the ball straight at the hole to land about a metre short, followed by two little hops into the hole. Hole-in One, Eagle’s Nest, a plus on his card and on the match card, followed by a series of wins to take the match 2 up. The mango and avocado seasons are just about over, so Ken is expecting to have a bit more time for golf. It took him about nine holes to warm up, but he came home well enough to finish minus 1 as well. Dale started his round with par for a plus, and absolutely creamed a shot out of the bunker on the 6th to get his par and plus as well. Unfortunately, the rest of the front was not so kind, and it required three birdies and two pars in the first five holes of the back to get him back into the game. Those three birdies helped a good deal to bring our total to 14 for the day.
Craig didn’t have much to say about his round today, and the card suggests that there might have been a few putts that didn’t quite go in the hole. His evenly balanced round of -1 on each half was good enough to get a couple of points for fourth place. Harry had to wait until the 12th hole to get a plus on his card, and there were more putts than he likes to remember that just slipped past the hole. On the other hand, there were a few that went nowhere near, so maybe his -3 was a fair score for the final spot on the podium.
The first BallPin was on the 4th, and absolutely nobody got on, so there will be a Jackpot on the 4th next week. On the 18th, Brendon was determined to get his name on the chit, even though his ball was 13.4m from the hole. We know that because he measured it to put his name on the inside ProPin. It will be interesting to see if that stands! Unfortunately, he was eased out of our competition, at least, by Anthony. Blighty was having a bit of a weep on anybody’s shoulder that would listen, about the fact that his shot on the 12th had finished 1.2m from the hole and had a good chance of taking home the cash. That is until Porks came along in the next group. The gathered masses certainly appreciated the Club shout to celebrate Ryan’s effort.
In other matches played today, BrentL and Blighty battled it out. Brent suffered a bit of a slump under the weight of his new handicap, and Blighty was on a bit of a roll. As a result, Andrew had racked up his winning margin by the turn, and managed to keep Brent at bay to take the match 4 and 3. Craig and Brendon were evenly matched with equal handicap meaning that there was no quarter given, and it was very much a stroke for stroke affair. Craig managed to get his nose in front by the turn, and then managed to counter any signs of comeback on Brendon’s part for the rest of the round to take the match 2 and 1. SOS reckoned that he was shanking his shanks today, which did not stand him in good stead in his match against Stan. Despite this, he did manage to hold the fort to be square after eleven, but a bit of a miracle run by Stan handed him the match 4 and 3. Targe’s tee shot on the first went close to finishing in the rough between the 9th and the 18th, which ended up giving Harry an early start. Some equally bad play by both meant that the match remained in the balance for most of the round, and they walked off the 17th all square. Targe’s three putts on the 18th left Harry with two in hand to win the match, which he promptly did 1 up.
Rob reckons he believes in getting his money’s worth after he was noticed using a fair bit of the course other than the fairway he was playing. One shot on the 6th finishing on the 3rd fairway was probably further off line than Targe’s on the first. Geoff was apparently complaining about how his short game was letting him down. Not exactly short, but his shot from below the 18th green onto the 17th green was followed up by two putts for par, suggesting that his new handicap might be on the generous side if that is any guide. CJ took up Trev’s offer for a lift on his cart up the hill from the 13th. At the top of the hill, CJ stepped off and started walking while Trev drove on and kept talking to Chris until he reached the 14th tee, not realising that his passenger had departed. Stef didn’t hang around after the round for some reason, and, in the process, he nicked off with the ProPin paraphernalia from the 12th. Let’s hope that he can make it next week! Or delivers it to somebody who can!
Results for Saturday, 12 March 2022
1st Stan Blackshaw (+3) 1st Anthony Browne (+3) 2nd Andrew Blight (+2) 3rd Ben Akdag (-1) 3rd Ryan Porker (-1) 3rd Ken Watson (-1) 3rd Dale Webb (-1) 4th Craig Cameron (-2) 5th Harry Boughen (-3)
Seniors Results: 1st Stan Blackshaw (+3) 2nd Andrew Blight (+2) 3rd Ken Watson (-1)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 12th Ryan Porker BallPin No 1 – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 2 – 18th Anthony Browne
Hole in One Results: Hole in One – 12th *** Ryan Porker ***
What do you reckon could push the Russian invasion of Ukraine off the front pages, out of the talk-back topics, and be a major topic of conversation on Saturday? Nothing less than SKW pulling stumps! CJ had a bit to brag about, as he reckons he is one of the few people not to have been bowled by the world’s greatest leggie. Of course, this was back in second grade district cricket and Warnie was only a 14 year old, but he could still turn a mean ball.
There was a bit of a dump of rain overnight, and although the radar clearly showed that the frontal band had passed, it was enough to put off a fair number of fair weather friends. As a result, the field was reduced to eight members and Geoff, who fronted up again to submit his second card for his handicap determination. Although there had been 50 or 60mm of rain, there was very little evidence on the course, other than a couple of puddles in the low spots and some almost visible moisture on some of the greens. Open cracks were still evident, so the course can take quite a bit more moisture before it is likely to suffer significant saturation. There was a bit of a mist from time to time, but, in general, it was a great day for golf, and those that chickened out, missed out.
Now, you would think that having a double figure score on your card would just about be a death knell for your chances in a stroke event. Which just goes to show how wrong you could be. After a nice drive on the third, Harry’s second caught the tree on the right of the corner, and finished in bounds but unplayable. The next, after the penalty, was struck nicely, but neatly connected an overhanging branch and finished well OOB, never to be seen again. And so the count continued to climb, with the ball finally in the hole for ten (maybe it should have only been nine on working back through the shots). The golf gods then decided that they had had enough fun for one day, and H was able to complete the round in just 65 more strokes (38 for the back), to come in with a handicap equalling score of 68 net.
Brendon didn’t stray too far from the straight and narrow, although he did rack up an uncharacteristic triple on the 6th. A minor confrontation with another player over an ‘iridescent’ ball on the 13th did not stop him from scoring a birdie on the 14th, which meant that he did contribute to the total of six that we scored for the day. He probably thought he had a chance of contributing more when he put his drive on the 15th to 2.3m, which was more than enough to win the ProPin, but not enough to score another bird.
For a third of his card, it looked as if CJ was going to record nothing but fours and sevens. Fortunately, he was able to break out of this pattern, thanks to a large degree to his having fallen back in love with the ‘Collingwood’ putter that was gifted him by Michael some time back. He reckons he was seduced into buying his latest cast-off by a trick test green that channelled the ball to the hole. CJ’s short game has always been one of his strengths (other than his famous power fade), but today he was sinking putts from just about any distance. This brought him home, in the end, with a net score of 74 and that gave him the points for third place.
Now, it has been a little while since we have seen Stef at the ‘Hoe for a number of reasons, and it was wondered whether he would have forgotten how to hold a club. Just like riding a bike, he leapt out and scored a birdie on the first. Not sure what happened on the second, but he used all of his handicap of five strokes to complete that one. He was able to put his drive on the 18th close enough to take out the BallPin on that hole, but, with the pin perilously close to the edge of the ledge, his putt finished well down on the bottom level which could easily have robbed him of a higher placing. ChrisJ lost his ball from the tee on the second after it disappeared into the tree line, and this resulted in a less than impressive score for the hole. Playing up the 6th, Chris spotted a ball lying at the very base of one of the bushy trees, and, lo and behold, it was the stray ball from the 2nd. He was adamant that it had not been there when searching at the time, and it must have just fallen down. Nobody was game to dob SOS in for anything, and his card showed no particular bright or black spots. A couple of triples was about as bad as it got, and that was enough to bring him home with his net score of 75 to share fourth place with Stef and Chris. Having been tail-end-Charlie last week, Keith was more than happy to get a point for 5th place with his score of 81.
Geoff had a couple of shockers, but there was a fair sprinkling of bogies and a couple of pars on the card, which suggests that he is getting his feel for the game back into line. It was certainly good enough to score him the BallPin on the 12th. The golf gods might have turned their attention to Stan when he was playing the 6th. His drive proved a bit difficult to find, and it was finally located in ‘a bit of a hollow’. It turned out the bit of a hollow was actually a sprinkler head, and the club hit the sprinkler rather than the ball. A bit further down the track, the club did hit the ball, but in such a way that it spun backwards and finished behind where it started. Some days are diamonds…..
The Birthday Birdie has a couple of milestones to mark this week. ChrisJ and Mark both have a reason to celebrate as they move just a little closer to joining the ranks of the Seniors Competition, although it is still a fair way off.
If you have looked at the Matchplay draw, you might have noticed (or not) that the round dates do not correspond with the Calendar. This will be fixed soon. In other news, as a finalist from last year’s Matchplay competition, The Comeback Kid (Stef) has been granted a spot to fill one of the Byes and will come up against Mark in Round 1. Please get on with organising your matches, and don’t forget that there will be no matches played during Majors or the Priems Cup.
Results for Saturday, 05 March 2022
1st Harry Boughen (68) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (71) 3rd Chris Priems (74) 4th Stefan Belevski (75) 4th Chris James (75) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (75) 5th Keith Delzoppo (81)
Seniors Results: 1st Harry Boughen (68) 2nd Chris Priems (74) 3rd Keith Delzoppo (81)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Brendon Mitchell BallPin No 1 – 12th Geoff Lyall BallPin No 2 – 18th Stefan Belevski