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Ebony and Ivory on 27 January 2024.

Old guard, new guard
I’ve never played this well before!

It took Gordo a moment to catch on when Harry mentioned that there was a bit of Japanese in the air this morning, and Josh might have been accused of anti-semitism when he opined that it was a bit ‘dewish’ out there. And it did take going on nine holes for the dew to depart from the greens. However, the sun won out eventually and a beautiful sunny day made conditions just about ideal for a round or two with the Ivanhoe course. Some of the greens could have done with a bit of a tidy up, but maybe ground staff are a bit too expensive on a Saturday. There was a view that there wasn’t quite as much run to be had, and the mozzies weren’t quite as ferocious as they were reported to be during the week. Ryan did have a bit of a start when he spotted something on his leg that looked like a mozzie, except that it was about 25mm long. The fourteen members who made it to the tee were down due to a bad case of ‘Bundy’ (Prez) and a slept through alarm (Peps). There was an unfounded rumour that Peps was delayed because his hair-dryer had gone on the fritz, which some members might have a chance of understanding.

Josh has been tipped to be a potential mover and shaker as he gets more rounds under his belt, and the trend in recent times has been to lower scores. Today was no exception, and he started out with a par on the first. For some, this might be seen as a bad omen, but, had it not been for some stray shots on the second, and a vanished ball on the 9th, there might have been more than six pluses on the front nine from a 44 off the stick, obviously much better than the 26 handicap that he ‘was’ on would indicate. The back nine was not quite so free scoring, but he did manage to square the nine to finish +4 for the day from 89 strokes, a personal best for the lad. Peter put in some practice at the chipping green before the round, and was quite happy with his performance. He was less than happy with his chipping on the front nine, but some good putting brought him to the turn, just shy of square on -1. It was a completely different story on the back nine, and the plus scores flowed to finish the nine +4 with a net result of +4 and a tie for first place with Josh.

Distance is deceiving
Ain’t it the truth!

Ryan used up a fair bit of his handicap on the front nine, and could manage only a single plus, to come to the turn at -2. It is not clear what performance enhancer he consumed between the ninth green and the tenth tee, but whatever it was, he should bottle it. Five squares and four pluses, using one fewer than par strokes for the nine, turned the overall result into a +2, so that he filled second place on his own. The nine included consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th, which was 25% of the total that the field was able to report for the day. The birdie on the 15th was actually pretty easy after his shot in from the tee danced around the hole, and spun off to finish 1.08m away. Given that this was the Triple Jackpot (no correspondence will be entered into, Michael) ProPin, this was a very lucrative result, and it just about broke Matt’s heart when he watched his shot to 4.32m well and truly beaten from the 16th tee.

Harry was pretty happy with his result for the front nine when he reached the turn, despite having left a few putts short of the mark, which he put down to the effects of the aforementioned dew. When the ball trickled into the water on the 10th, and the resulting loss brought the tally back to square, he still had hopes, although an over-generous long putt on the 12th and a missed come-back started to put the pressure on. A run of squares did little to help the situation until a pair of pluses on the last two finished the nine square, the round +1 and gave him 3rd place, just ahead of Michael, who finished square. Michael laid claim to a whole string of missed putts, including one on the 18th, that would have brought him the tie for 3rd, rather than having 4th place by himself. Playing right to handicap after taking cuts over the last two weeks is a good effort, and makes for quite a purple patch. Raj managed to finish the front nine in positive territory, but things did go a little astray on the back, including one ball on the 13th, that couldn’t be found after bouncing on the path. Whether it is any consolation or not, Raj has now leapt to the lead in the Eclectic, so Prez better stay away from the Bundy if he wants to claim top spot back. Whitey also presented with -2 for the round, despite the fact that he reckons that he can’t putt. If he hadn’t missed so many, he should have been well into positive territory was the claim.

Now, today was Whitey’s 200th game with the club, and, not only did he celebrate by getting a placing, he also laid claim to the first BallPin on the 12th hole. He had nudged out Peter, who had made first dibs on the pill. Targe was in the last group with Raj and Sarge (Gordo), and had finished about 10m from the hole. Unbeknownst to Targe, Sarge had picked up the marker, which led Targe to believe that he had a claim, and he wrote his name on the card. Unperturbed by having to cross out his name, Targe rattled the putt in for a birdie. The BallPin on the 18th saw Matt and Josh in a tussle from the tee, but Josh was a bit off the back while Matt was in with a good chance for our, and the inside, ProPin at 2.67m. Unfortunately, Michael knocked him off for both chances when he made it to 2.46m. Matt made his putt, but Michael didn’t!

Happy birthday to Prez Rob for just over a week ago. Next year, he will be able to join big brother in the hotly contested Seniors field. At the other end of the scale, Josh is lining up for his 21st next Saturday, so an extra big wish for that one. Matt was busy debating whether he could afford a sausage roll, or whether he should save the money to help pay for the drinks at the big party that is planned.

Speaking of Matt, he went very close to becoming a ‘tosser’ today when shots did not go quite to plan. The two OOBs on the 8th definitely required some gritting of the teeth. There was no damage to the shin or the flag-stick following an attempt to kick the ball away after losing a hole by mere centimetres. Brendon, apparently, took some on-line coaching during the week. It wasn’t clear whether this was actual coaching or a YouTube tutorial, but, if the scoreline was any guide, and he paid money for the privilege, Michael reckons he should at least demand a refund, or even sue! Ken reckons he had a great day, watching and looking. Watching other people play golf, and looking for his ball, of which he lost several. Gordo has dipped into his retirement nest-egg and acquired a new set of wheels. Nothing electric or anything, it just looks like the old Jimny on steroids. Goes by the name of Tank300, apparently.

Results for Saturday, 27 Jan 2024
1st Josh Hunt (+4) 1st Peter Sein (+4) 2nd Ryan Porker (+2) 3rd Harry Boughen (+1) 4th Michael Gourlay (□) 5th Rajesh Mahto (-2) 5th Rodney White (-2)

Seniors Results: 1st Peter Sein (+4) 2nd Harry Boughen (+1) 3rd Michael Gourlay (□)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Ryan Porker BallPin No 1 – 12th Rodney White BallPin No 2 – 18th Michael Gourlay

And there were twelve

Frog specialist CJ Priems (green shirt centre-rear) with players from 20 January 2024
Frog specialist CJ Priems made an Ivanhoe appearance

We had a guest from the Frog this week – who gave Gordo a run for his money for shirt of the month – and with his Prez brother turning up as well, plus Peps, Bobby, Targe and a few others, the field swelled to twelve after last week’s seven.

The beers were flowing post round thanks to Rob after his tee shot on the 11th. Apparently it nearly got past the red markers, but not quite.

Bobby was alleged to have had two aireys on the 2nd, but swears blind he just touched the ball with the second one and it moved a fraction. With 17 points on the front nine, Bobby was looking good to be in the points, but 15 on the back for 32 wasn’t quite enough and he missed fifth by one point.

For the second week in a row there were no ties and Prez Priems, Raj, Peter, Targe, Peps and SoS can count themselves a bit unlucky to miss the points, although maybe scrub SoS from that list as he suggested his 23 points was his worst game ever.

Frog specialist and occasional Ivanhoe player Chris Priems had 21 points on the front nine but couldn’t sustain the pace and finished with 33 points and fifth place. Out of bounds off the tee on 17 didn’t help his run home. Chris denied all suggestions he was “doing an Eddie” and protecting his handicap for some up-coming events.

The bloke some people call Ryan claimed 4th with 34 points. It looked like being a much better round until over-hitting his approach into the 16th (over the trees from the 14th fairway) and having to take an unplayable lie and finishing with a wipe. Earlier in a hot 10 hole stretch from the 6th to the 13th he had scored 4 x 3 pointers and a 4 point birdie on the 8th.

Whitey played solid all day and if it wasn’t for a couple of unfortunate double bogeys on the 14th and 16th he might have finished better than his 36 points and third place.

Chris James, who has been known to hit them far and wide, was proud of hitting a world record 7 fairways on the front nine and he hit the turn with 23 points. However he only hit one fairway on the back nine and 16 points for a total of 39 point left him just shy of the win and in second place.

Michael managed a 4 on every hole on the front nine and turned with 18 stableford points. After another 4 on the 10th he embarrassingly topped his second shot on 11 (which went about 5 metres and was very nearly an airy). Raj was disappointed to write a bogey 5 on the card. Michael gave himself the proverbial “good talking to” between the 11th green and 12th tee and the result was four birdies over the closing seven holes, a 2 under back nine of 31 off the stick (67 for the round) and 40 points for the win.

Photo: Porks within 5 metres at the 15th but just off the green so no triple jackpot ProPin for Porks.
Quadruple ProPin jackpot next week after Porks “did a Gordo” within 5 metres but just off the green

If you’re playing next week, save your best shot for the 15th. The ProPin there will be a quadruple jackpot. Ryan, like Gordo a few weeks back, was well within the 5 metres but just off the green. Michael won the ball on the 18th, sneaking one up to the top tier pin.

The big ball story was on the 7th where a double ball jackpot was on offer. Ryan hit a great shot in there and his group assumed it would be easily good enough for the double ball. However it had run much further past the hole than it looked from the tee and on arriving at the green it was discovered that Whitey had hit a great shot in pin-high. Without the benefit of a tape measure, various efforts were made to compare the two and it was decided they were exactly the same distance away and a gentleman’s agreement was made to share the prize one ball each.

With Harry on holidays, there was some concern that this gentlemen’s agreement might not make for easy computer coding of the ball results in Harry’s fancy handicapping system. But no fear, Harry will be back in town at his computer this week and doing the necessary tweaking in case this unusual circumstance happens again.

Meanwhile Peps made a unique contribution to the Victorian government’s environment and recycling policies after finishing the 15th. After a double bogey on that hole, an annoyed smack of the ball with his putter saw the ball fly over the 16th tee into the new can/bottle recycling system in the tennis club car park. People standing in the queue to get their 10 cents per can/bottle refund all agreed that $1 per old golf ball would be a fair price, a bit fairer than the “$four!” that was Peps ambit claim.

Rob added post round that he’d collected $28 from a recent recycling contribution of 280 cans/bottles. To get on board and monitor whether the $1 per recycled golf ball becomes a goer, see https://www.vic.gov.au/container-deposit-scheme.

In other news, big congratulations to Ryan and partner with baby number two due in June.

Also, at end February we will be losing Chris James to an interstate move to Wollongong NSW. Work related, with his employer moving to Sydney, Chris will be trying to offset his sadness at missing our good selves by buying himself a boat and taking advantage of the good surfing on offer up there. Congratulations Ryan and good luck with the move Chris.

Results for Saturday, 20 Jan 2024
1st Michael Gourlay (40) 2nd Chris James (38) 3rd Rodney White (36) 4th Ryan Porker (34) 5th Chris Priems (33)

Seniors Results: 1st Michael Gourlay (40) 2nd Rodney White (36) 3rd Chris Priems (33)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 7th Two ball jackpot shared one ball each between Rodney White and Ryan Porker BallPin No 2 – 18th Michael Gourlay

After the flood

View from 1st tee looking down the flooded 1st and 9th fairways in the week before play on January 13, 2024
View from 1st tee looking down the 1st and 9th fairways in the week before play on January 13, 2024

Due to flooding, early in the week it looked like there might be no play on Jan 13, or perhaps only on 9 of the least flooded holes.

But come Saturday 7 members had a full course to play.

The ground staff were confident enough in their work to say there was no need for preferred lies and overall conditions were indeed pretty good despite the odd mud ball.

Putting on the 7th was interesting. The green had obviously been totally under water and was still brown and muddy. Most putts finished well short.

The lakes to the left of the 4th and in front of the 5th tee were prominent.

Thankfully the tee on the 4th was put so far forward it made the lake less intimidating, although Chris James was intimidated enough by the lake on the 5th to hit it straight in there.

There was also a lovely new bridge to admire on the 4th. Without it there would have been no way to get from tee to green. Even the most skeptical critics of the grounds-keeping at Royal Ivanhoe admitted the bridge was up there with their best work.

Once all the flood talk settled, very soon into the round the buzz around the course was could we beat the world record for lowest ever stableford score to get points (Harry the record is?).

As it happened the field was very strung out with no ties and Stan’s 27 points was enough for solo fifth.

Along the way, SoS had some trouble getting Johnny Q’s score right and John had to do the honest thing and instruct him to deduct a point, thereby missing the chance to join Stan on 27 by that point. Unfortunately John had not brought his Merimbula holiday form with him (40 points and some serious cash for a comp win up there).

Invitations to send stories of other holiday golfing stories brought nothing this week, although Gordo shared a lovely photo of himself already drunk at lunchtime at the Portarlington Mussel Festival.

Adam was the other player to miss points on the day. Chris J snared fourth with 28 points, SoS third with 31, Raj second with 34 and Michael snuck home for the win with 35.

Apart from Johnny Q’s draughtie on the 15th, the major highlight of the day discussed after the round was Stan’s birdie on the 5th. Due to lack of other highlights his partners took turns describing the second shot that went in and around the trees like a laser into about a metre from the hole from where the putt went right in the middle. SoS birdied the 3rd but no details emerged about how he did that. He was too busy enjoying John’s beer.

To entice a few more players this week, we have a ball jackpot on the 7th and a triple ProPin jackpot on the 15th. Raj won the ball on the 18th.

Results for Saturday, 13 Jan 2024
1st Michael Gourlay (35) 2nd Rajesh Mahto (34) 3rd Stephen O’Sullivan (31) 4th Chris James (28) 5th Stan Blackshaw (27)

Seniors Results: 1st Michael Gourlay (35) 2nd Stan Blackshaw (27)

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

Gordo shirtfront

Gordo with the motley crew of players for the January 2024 Monthly Medal
Easily best shirt of the day

There were no complaints about the weather for the January 2024 monthly medal, perhaps it was a touch hot, but all the talk was the crazy pins, pretty much all of them front left and very close to the edge of the green. The one on the 12th was borderline unplayable.

All 13 players agreed post-round that the front pins made chipping and approach shots very difficult and overall the course much harder than usual.  At least that was the best excuse we could come up with for some ordinary scoring.

The clubhouse leader Raj was looking good for quite a while with a net 72, before Gordo wandered in from the last group with a net 71 to take the medal and book himself into the 2024 Champion of Champions field. 

Gordo was also awarded best shirt of the day.

Raj’s 72 was good enough for solo second, with Peter and Michael sharing third place a shot further back on 73 and Adam and Brendan sharing fourth with 74. Harry then snuck himself a cheeky championship point with 75 for solo fifth.

Gordon’s round included an 8 on the 2nd and a 7 on the 13th but he steadied in the run home, including a great bounce-back birdie on the 14th.

Raj started his day with a great shot into the 1st to set up a birdie, an even better pitch and putt for par on the 2nd and on the 3rd his long range birdie putt was all but in the hole before missing by a millimetre. Alas he struck the dreaded 4th hole tree curse left off the tee and made 6 there and the hot start turned into a bit of a struggle. Raj added two more birdies on the back 9 and was the big mover in the Eclectic, jumping 10 places from 13th to 3rd.

Peter was pleased that his round gave him some points for both the main Club Championship and the Seniors. Apart from matching Gordo with an 8 on the 2nd, Peter’s card was very consistent and suggests once he gets the hang of the quirky Ivanhoe layout he might be seen more often in the points in future.

One of the many measures of the quality of play on the day was the number of birdies (4) was matched by the number of shouts called for after tee shots from Ken (1st) SoS (8th) Steve (11th) and Stan (15th).  Three of those, SoS, Steve and Stan were in the same group with Adam. A deal was done (not sure if this is within club rules?) where the three offenders didn’t buy drinks for each other, the argument being that each cancelled the other out. Then there was concern that Adam might need a taxi home as the drinks were all headed his way.

When asked for his highlights, Chris J said he made a 12 on the second. This blog isn’t long enough to explain how he managed that. Targe volunteered that he made 9 on the 14th after hitting his first out of bounds to the left and then his next into the pond on the right. Brendan volunteered that he 4-putted the 14th. Harry then reminded everybody that the blog was designed to highlight good golf stories, so the question was asked.  Silence.  End of stories.  End of blog!  Shortest ever!

A forgotten story on the day was the handy work of a Jack Russell on the 3rd green. After surveying his putt, Michael placed his ball and in swooped Jack Russell and without breaking stride picked the ball up did a u-turn and delivered it to a very apologetic owner walking the path. After Raj braved spider webs to retrieve the ball for Michael, a close inspection suggested no bite marks and the ball lasted the rest of the round despite a visit to the pond off the tee on the 5th.

There was a beach golf report from a “Skins” game in Golden Beach down Sale way on the 90 Mile Beach. Four club members were involved and Prez Priems cleaned up with 7 skins, Geoff and Josh one skin each and Captain Matty the big doughnut.  In future weeks, the blog will be happy to carry more holiday golf reports from those on a break from the pressure cooker of the hot competition at Royal Ivanhoe.

For those who can make it next week, there will be a jackpot ProPin on the 15th, despite Gordo wanting to claim the money for being within 5 metres but off the green. Michael bunted one down the 4th with his Jack Russell ball to take new the ball on offer there and Gordo snuck just inside Michael to win the ball on the 18th.

Results for Saturday, 06 Jan 2024
1st Gordon Hill (71) 2nd Rajesh Mahto (72) 3rd Michael Gourlay (73) 3rd Peter Sein (73) 4th Adam King (74) 4th Brendon Mitchell (74) 5th Harry Boughen (75)

Seniors Results: 1st Gordon Hill (71) 2nd Michael Gourlay (73) 2nd Peter Sein (73) 3rd Harry Boughen (75)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 15th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 4th Michael Gourlay BallPin No 2 – 18th Gordon Hill