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Chris James with beer in hand celebrates his win in the November Monthly Medal
A 9 on the second, no probs, I can still win against this lot

With the exception of this week’s winner, Chris James, who was grinning after the round like the proverbial Cheshire cat, the quality of golf had the rest of the field looking very glum.

Stephen, a guest of Rob’s who joined us for his first game in 12 months or so summed it up well when he noted mid-round that he’d rather be out on his boat.

Mind you, if you head back to Chris’s second hole of the day, he wasn’t grinning then, taking a 9! Apart from a par on the first his whole front 9 was a bit of mess, turning in 49 off the stick, 14 over par. Given his handicap is 13, he’d already spent all of his handicap (and one more) by the time he stood on the 10th tee. No problems, a par on 10, birdie on 11, pars on 12-15, another birdie on 16, par on 17 and he stood on the 18th tee 2 under off the stick for the back 9. Bogey on 18 was an unfortunate finish, but still good enough for a back 9 32 to go with the front 9 49 for an 81 off the stick and 68 net (we will have to get Harry to check whether a 17 shot improvement from one nine to the next is a record).

Chris’s 68 net saw him comfortably win the day by three shots from our new Club Champion Raj who went 45 39 for an 84 off the stick for a net 71 which was good enough for second place on his own.

Raj’s 5 championship points for second takes his point tally for the year to 111, with Brendan in second with 89.

There was some interest in third place in the Championship today with Porks starting 3 points behind Harry. When Harry called in sick, it was all set up for Porks to sneak past him into outright third with a second placing or better today, or tie for third in the Championship with third place today (and cost the club an extra trophy). Indeed Porks 79 off the stick (net 73) was good enough for equal third place with Charlie G, who as predicted is starting to consistently feature in the points, and Matt.

SoS and Josh shared 4th with net 75 and Michael and Peps played poorly and were embarrassed to be included in the points sharing 5th with net 76. Those out of the points in the field of 13 (plus two guests) included Rob, Targe, Bill and Geoff.

Unfortunately for Rob, despite the big build up in the previous blog, he couldn’t improve his eclectic score today and this leaves Brendan the winner of the Eclectic Trophy on 44.0 with Rob second on 44.4. Brendan’s birdie on 13 last week was the decisive moment in his win.

This week is the first week of the three week Club Strokeplay Championship (the last two weeks being played concurrently with the Vin O’Meara). There are gross and net honours for the Stroke Play. The “gross” field is very bunched with Porks 79 good enough to lead, followed by Michael and Matty on 80, Chris J on 81, Peps on 82 and Raj on 84.

Josh was grinning big time when he creamed his drive and then a 5 iron onto the 6th green in two. Unfortunately this was followed by three putts. His dad playing in the following group duly birdied the 6th just to let Junior know he has a way to go yet.

In his first game back for a while Geoff distinguished himself with a duff off the first tee that didn’t make the ladies. He bettered this off the 13th when his tee shot managed to scuttle into the red marker, lifting it off the ground momentarily as the ball deflected way up the hill to the left just inside the out of bounds markers.

Such was the dearth of good golf to be talked about post round, discussion focused on the new clubhouse renovations, particularly the height of the new urinals, which appear to assume that all Ivanhoe golfers are 6ft plus. It was suggested that some stepping stools might be needed for our more vertically challenged members.

Peps spectacular effort on the 11th also got good press after the round. Not so much his regulation par on the hole, but rumour has it when the group ahead (not from our club) stopped and gathered in a little huddle of 6 or 7 blokes for a lengthy chat with some friends playing the second, which went on and on and on, Peps then decided to make what was described as a “decisive intervention.” Whether he ran through the huddle Dermet Brereton style or just used his verbal assets to get the job done is best left to the imagination, but Pep’s playing partners reckon they have never seen a huddle of 6 or 7 blokes scatter quicker. Don’t mess with the Peps!

Peps also finished strongly to win the nearest the pin ball on the 18th, with Raj taking the ball on the 7th. The Propin on the 15th was won again by this year’s most consistent winner, initials JP.

Results for Saturday, 25 Nov 2023
1st Chris James (68) 2nd Rajesh Mahto (71) 3rd Charles Gibbs (73) 3rd Matt Hunt (73) 3rd Ryan Porker (73) 4th Josh Hunt (75) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (75) 5th Michael Gourlay (76) 5th Andrew Petricola (76)

Seniors Results: 1st Michael Gourlay (76) 2nd Targe Mifsud (80) 3rd Bill Eastoe (81)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 7th Rajesh Mahto BallPin No 2 – 18th Andrew Petricola

Beast on fire!

Chris and Rob Priems - no love lost in the battle for the Priems Cup bragging rights
Game on for the Priems Cup!

There was a bit of the usual brotherly argy bargy and a touch of sledging during the build-up for the second round of the Priems Cup in 2023.

By the time the dust settled on registrations, a couple of withdrawals and a late starter or two, there were two teams of 8 with one unlucky “odd number” player – Anthony – missing out on a spot on either team.

Somewhat controversially there was a slight tweak of the format and rather than individual matchplay, it was decided to play a straight stableford round (with no match play) and the winning team to be decided by best total stableford score.

The early buzz around the course was that maybe an old friend from the UK, the legendary David Primrose, had turned up and secretly snuck into the field, because somebody had birdied four of the first seven holes and was standing on the 8th tee at 3 under the card off the stick. Closer inspection revealed it was another legendary member with UK connections, the Beast. Birdie on the 1st, then a cracker off the tee into the 4th for another birdie (and the quintuple Propin jackpot) then two more birdies on the 6th and 7th! The Beast was on fire!

Bogies on 8 and 9 saw him turn 1 under the card off the stick and with 24 stableford points. Another birdie on 14 (Harry what is the record for number of birdies in a round?) was a good bounceback after a double bogey on 13. Bill finished the back 9 with 17 points for 41 overall which was six ahead of the next best, Chris J (or “the other CJ” as somebody called him) on 35.

Billy shows his strength by holding up the very heavy bag of coins won for the quintuple Propin jackpot on the 4th holds up
Beast on fire! 4 birdies in the first 7 seven holes including a birdie and win of the quintuple jackpot Propin on the 4th

Bill was playing for Team Chris (the original CJ) but unfortunately his teammates weren’t able to support him well enough to get Team Chris over the line, with Stevie G and Raj on 33 the next best followed by scores in the 20’s for Whitey, Gordo, Chris himself and Josh.

Meanwhile Team Rob was playing slow and steady tortoise to the Beast’s fast starting hare and with a consistent set of scores in the 32-35 range from 6 of 8 team members, this was enough to secure victory with a team total of 261 points at an average of 32.6 per player. Team Chris finished on 236 points (average 29.5) so in the end it was a comfortable three shot victory for Team Rob.

Congratulations Chris J (35); Charlie G (34); Bobby (34); Targe (34); Brendan (33); Rob (32); Sos (30) Matty (29)! Due to various mathematical and computer programming ramifications of not playing matchplay, it was decided by Harry/Michael that the winning team members would get 2 championship points each. In the previous matchplay version, the winners of individual matchplay games would have received an additional 3 points. There will need to be some sorting out of the best arrangements for Priems Cup format and points allocation in 2024, so that Harry’s fancy computer programming code for points can reflect the format played.

The main championship impact of the Priems Cup round was that the points Brendan secured for the win were enough to put him nine points clear of Harry in second place for the Championship with one round remaining. With Brendan having to sit out this week due to a commitment for his kids (hope the dancing concert goes well Brendan) he can be safe in the knowledge that even if Harry wins the 8 points for the December Monthly medal this week, Brendan can’t be be beaten for second place. But Harry (80) can be beaten for third by Porks (77).

The other big trophy related story for the day also featured Brendan. A birdie on the 13th, one of 3 he scored for the day, was his first birdie on that hole for the year and saw him sneak ahead of long-time leader Rob in the Eclectic. If you take a look at the Eclectic under “Competitions” on the website you’ll see there’s a bit of Harry’s usual mathematical and computer programming wizadry involved, but basically it is – best score on each hole over the year then subtract three quarters of your exact handicap. So we have Brendan on 51 gross minus three quarters of his handicap gets him to 44.0. Rob is on 59 minus three quarters of his handicap = 44.6. It’s probably a race in two and with Brendan at the dancing concert, Rob could pull ahead if he snaffles a birdie on any of holes 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 15 or 16. Stevie G, Porks, Chris J and SoS are also a chance if they go nuts with multiple birdies on the right holes.

Other highlights of the day included Raj having an airy under a tree on the 8th, Bobby might have had one too. Whitey had the distinction of hitting a decent long shot down the 6th just a bit right of the green towards the big dead tree there – well indeed very towards the tree, in fact right into the little gap in the roots and neatly nestled against the trunk. Sorry Whitey I lost the photo of it! Josh’s wedge into the second was equally spectacular, beautifully struck and nicely lofted just right for it to get into the tree nice and high and stay up there!

Nearest the pins were taken out by Stevie G on the 12th and Chrispy on the 18th, a consolation prize for the defeated brother.

Winning Priems Cup team photo November 2023
A few ring-ins (including Beast, Gordo, Craig) with members of Team Rob, Priems Cup winners Nov 23

It was great to see Craig down at the club. Unfortunately Craig’s health issues have kept him off the course for a while now, but he is still firing away with all the Club Committee Secretary duties (see more on Committee decisions below). The losing team members seemed to be in very good spirits after the round, no doubt helped by Ken’s generous mango handouts.

At the risk of making this the longest blog ever, please keep reading for the important Committee information Craig asked to be included:

  1. Membership subscriptions for 2024 were set to remain at $40 for Club and $90 for GA. These are now due, and should be paid as soon as possible, and certainly by the end of December. Bank transfer is preferred, marked with your name to identify your transaction.
  2. The Xmas break-up lunch and trophy presentations will be held on the 16th December in the newly renovated function room and Gordon really needs to have numbers so that he can pin down the catering. Don’t be afraid to come along even if you haven’t played much during the year as it is your subscription money that pays for this sort of thing.
  3. Because of the general lack of numbers of bidders in the Calcutta Auction, it was decided that this aspect of the Club’s activities would again be discontinued for this year. The optional buy-yourself pool will be continued with the purchase price for yourself set at $30. The pool will be divided as set out in the Calcutta Auction Rules. The purchase money is due before tee off on 2nd December. No money, no chance of being the winner.

Results for Priems Cup round Saturday, 18 Nov 2023
Winner: Team Rob 261 points, average score 32.6. Chris J (35); Charlie G (34); Bobby (34); Targe (34); Brendan (33); Rob (32); SoS (30); Matty (29)

Not quite the winner: Team Chris 236 points, average score 29.5 points. Beast (41); Stevie G (33); Raj (33); Whitey (29); Gordo (27); Chris (25); Josh (24)

Winners team each player rewarded with 2 championship points. Other team zero points.

Individual scores:
No points awarded and no “winner’s” penalty for Beast but he loses 5 x 0.2 = 1.0 for the 41 points

1st Bill Eastoe (41) 2nd Chris James (35) 3rd Charles Gibbs (34) 3rd Bob McDonald (34) 3rd Targe Mifsud (34) 4th Steven Gervasoni (33) 4th Rajesh Mahto (33) 4th Brendon Mitchell (33) 5th Robert Priems (32)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th (quintuple jackpot) Bill Eastoe BallPin No 1 – 12th Steven Gervasoni BallPin No 2 – 18th Chris Priems

The Raj Coronation

Raj is all smiles on the course
Raj can relax now after securing the points he needed to guarantee a win in the 2023 Club Championship

With apologies to Chris James (equal first today) and Targe (Seniors winner today) the day belonged to Raj.

Having endured three weeks of no points, including a very unlucky 6th in the Freddy Kitson (4th each of the two weeks but somehow 6th overall) and stalled on a nervous 98 points with Brendan sneaking up within range, it was a crunch week for Raj as he stepped onto the first tee with Brendan playing in an earlier group and setting the pace.

Both Brendan and Raj work in IT and it is rumoured they had run the numbers through a few Optus computers during the week and come up with a simple formula. If Raj got points this week and matched or beat Brendan, he would be unbeatable for the 2023 Club Championship. Brendan needed to score at least 3 more points than Raj for the week to still be in with a chance for the Championship.

Despite blips on the 5th and 8th, Raj hit the turn at +1, one ahead of Brendan who turned square. With 3 pluses and a loss over the next four holes, Raj stood on the 14th tee at +3. Brendan had managed a plus at 10 and then a birdie at 11 to reach +2, but bungled the 13th and was at +1 for the day as he walked off the 14th green.

The nerves might have kicked in at this point because Brendan managed three losses in a row at 15, 16, 17 and Raj did the same at 14, 15 and 16. Raj’s loss at 16 came in spectacular fashion. With a one foot putt left for a par and a plus, Raj not only managed to miss it, but the one on the way back as well! 3 putts from a foot! Earlier Brendan’s loss on 16 had been equally spectacular. Wedge in hand after a huge drive, he airmailed the green (allegedly hitting his wedge 150 metres) into what was variously described as kebbidge (sorry I can’t spell in Kiwi) cabbage/jungle up the hill at the back of the green. Gordo was nowhere to be seen after the round. Apparently he had made a dash to the races, but some people were worried he was last seen heading into the jungle looking for Brendan’s ball.

Gordo at the races
Where’s Gordo?

Raj was able to steady with par for a plus on 17 and a half/square down 18 for a score of +1 which was good enough for a share of first and 8 (and a 106 in total) championship points. Brendan made a consolation plus on 18 and finished at -1 for the day. Importantly this was enough for him to sneak into equal second place with a bloke a new member Tim referred to as “Ryan”. The confused Apprentice Assistance Handicapper checked the membership records and it turns out Porks first name is Ryan.

Now Harry is still in Europe and it is rumoured he was thinking of doing a return trip dash back from Europe to play this weekend and try and protect his podium position behind Raj in the Club Championship. He will likely be displeased that his main competitors for the podium, Porks and Brendan, shared second place points. Brendan now has 7 points on Harry in second and Porks is only 3 behind in fourth.

In and amongst all this, Chris J also managed +1 for the day and equal first place. In a statistical quirk that any “Stan the Statistician” handicapper will appreciate, it just so happens that Raj and Chris J started the day with exactly the same handicap (13.7 = 14) and both lose 2 strokes to 12 (12.4). Both should be aiming for single figures in 2024.

Also overshadowed by the Raj/Brendan show was Targe who played well for a -2 and third place points along with first place points in the Seniors Championship. Of course Harry has long ago locked away an unbeatable lead in the Seniors Championship, but there is still interest in the podium finishers there. Michael was very pleased with Targe’s effort today because it knocked Blighty (does he have a first name?) down to second for the day for Seniors points, thereby helping Michael’s lead over Blighty for second place in the Seniors Championship.

Targe also led the field in respecting remembrance day and observing the minute’s silence at 11am, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—pausing to remember those who have served and those who have died in all wars and peacekeeping operations. Thanks Targe for the reminder.

Blighty’s -3 and fourth place overall was matched by Adam, with Gordo “doing the SoS” and sneaking into 5th place overall with -4. Hopefully his punting at Flemington will be in plus territory.

The only player out of the points today was Andrew Noble who also managed the most birdies (2) with only 5 scored across the field for the day.

There was significant debate last week about what comes after “quadruple”. When Chris James hit his shot off the 4th, his new signature “knock down 9 iron” under the tree, the debate seemed academic, but it kept running a bit past the hole and despite various attempts to doctor the tape, the group kept getting 5.3 metres and therefore quintuple jackpot it is for next week!

Some consolation for Chris came on the 15th when another knock down 9 iron to about the same distance was enough to claim the ball. On the 18th, new member Tim, a workmate of the guy called Ryan, claimed the ball. Like Raj, Tim managed to make it to 100+ for the day but the rumour is he has plenty of room for improvement and like all new members, his early handicap may well be ridiculed when he starts playing for points. Welcome to the club Tim!

Next week it is a Priems Cup round. It’s a fun format and hopefully we’ll see a few more registrations than this week’s 10 players. The Priems brothers are warming up for the big day at Mansfield this weekend where it is reported that a few too many Friday night beers may have been a factor in the Saturday Mansfield stableford scores all being in the 20’s. Here’s betting both brothers score in the high 30’s or better next week as they battle it out as opposing captains.

Results for Saturday, 11 Nov 2023
1st Chris James (+1) 1st Rajesh Mahto (+1) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (-1) 2nd Ryan Porker (-1) 3rd Targe Mifsud (-2) 4th Andrew Blight (-3) 4th Adam King (-3) 5th Gordon Hill (-4)

Seniors Results: 1st Targe Mifsud (-2) 2nd Andrew Blight (-3) 3rd Gordon Hill (-4)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 15th Chris James BallPin No 2 – 18th Tim (Guest) Surname NYK!

Prague premonitions

Harry's photo of Pork's eatery in Prague ahead of Pork's win in the November 2023 Monthly Medal
Harry predicted a Porks win from Prague

With Tee Marshall Adam earning his money shuffling the field after a Covid related withdrawal, eventually 14 players stepped up to the tee for the November Monthly Medal. With good weather and the greens recently cut and running fast and true, the stage was set for a “no excuses” round for the medal.

Porks started well with 3 pars and then managed a triple bogey six down the 4th, as did his playing partner Brendan, with the third member of that group, Steve, making a seven. The rest of the field didn’t do much better on the 4th where there was a triple jackpot on offer for the pro-pin. If it doesn’t go off as quadruple jackpot this week, there’s talk of needing to make it a “nearest the green” contest, or donating the prize to the Christmas break-up lunch.

Ryan steadied his game with a birdie on the 6th, pars over the next four holes, another birdie on the 12th and three pars to finish off a round of 73 off the stick for a net 66 and a comfortable 3 stroke victory. It must be said it is just as well for Porks that the club takes a generous approach to mistakes on scorecards. Steve had marked Porks card with a 38 for the 9th hole instead of a 4 for a 38 nine hole total. Porks had duly signed it and headed off home. Steve was reported to have had a few other accounting mishaps during the day, including the wrong handicap on his card.

In what he called a premonition of a Porks victory (perhaps via a tip off via from checking the course Facebook and seeing Porks had won the A Grade Inside) Harry supplied this week’s blog photo from Prague. Meanwhile Brendan plotted his way to a net 69 (78 off the stick) and with second place points he has snuck past Harry into second place in the Club Championship race with 82 points, trailing the leader Raj on 98 points. With Raj stalled in the nervous 90’s after another week without points, it is still mathematically possible for Brendan to knock Raj off.

Josh backed up from his big win in the Freddy Kitson (and losing 7 strokes on his handicap) to post a net 71 and third place points. Matty noted that Josh left a few out there and could easily have finished 6 or 7 better, so it’s likely it wont be long before Josh loses more off his handicap.

Bobby and Blighty shared 4th place on net 72 and SoS rounded out the points with a net 74. Bob started strongly with a par on the first and if it wasn’t for a rough patch on holes 9 and 10 might have been in line for higher honours.

Blighty managed one of the best double bogeys you will ever see on the 3rd. Drive left into the trees, shanked second out of bounds right, next shot into the tree in front of him and back at his feet, then a bunt forward to under the big tree on the right. Standing over his sixth shot, Michael and Adam, who were waiting patiently on the green, started debating what number Blighty would finish with for the hole, double figures looking likely. Blighty then hit a crisp pitch which landed softly and rolled into the hole for a nice neat 6. Blighty followed this with a 10 metre putt from off the green on the 4th for another neat double bogey, having had a couple of swipes under the bushes on the right. He did give a few of these back with a 5 putt for a 7 on the 14th.

SoS managed a birdie on the same hole but also managed to throw in a few 7’s including one on the 17th where his “all or nothing” approach off the tee produced another entertaining result.

The early finishers made some notes for the blog and these included the distraction of Targe turning up in “Sporty Spice” shoes. Andrew was trying out a new putter grip and having made his first putt with it for a par on the first was feeling confident for a big day. By the time he loaded up his fifth shot from the tee on the 13th and signed for a 12 his golfing day was not looking so good.

Rob also managed double figures, a 10, on the 17th which involved what was described as a “trip down a cliff” to the left where he managed to do more than a bit of pruning by taking a whole tree out as he attempted to use it for leverage on the way back up.

As mentioned above the Pro-pin on the 4th jackpotted again, so quadruple jackpot this week. Porks won the ball for nearest the pin on the 12th and nearly again on the 18th, but Raj’s shot there was just a touch closer. Raj was claiming this was his first ever NTP ball win, surely that can’t be true.

There’s now only three rounds of points left in the 2023 season, with Par this week, then a Priems Cup round on the 18th, then the December Monthly Medal which we play in the last week of November this year. This Monthly Medal will be the last chance to gain entry to the elite Champion of Champion Tournament field. Due to be played on December 16 after the Vin O’Meara, there are 13 players in the field so far. Check details under “Competitions” on the website.

Results for Saturday, 04 Nov 2023
1st Ryan Porker (66) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (69) 3rd Josh Hunt (71) 4th Andrew Blight (72) 4th Bob McDonald (72) 5th Stephen O’Sullivan (74)

Seniors Results: 1st Andrew Blight (72) 1st Bob McDonald (72) 2nd Michael Gourlay (75) 3rd Targe Mifsud (77)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 12th Ryan Porker BallPin No 2 – 18th Rajesh Mahto