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Cut me if you can on 17 February 2024.

Prez does it easy
I think I just cruelled my Eclectic chances!

Or, should that have been Catch me if you can? We ended up with one member short, and, so, there were only fourteen to front the starters gun at Ivanhoe this week. The day started out overcast, and remained that way for most of the morning. The temperature started out cool enough, but as the morning progressed, it actually got a bit on the steamy side, but not particularly hot. There was a fair amount of moisture at ground level, and the dewy greens offered some challenges for gauging putt length, at least until past the halfway mark of the round. The greens suffered the usual littering of leaves and twigs, and it almost goes without saying that there were plenty of unrepaired pitch marks. But, our members would not be guilty of that, would they?

Michael was looking forward during the week to see how Rob would handle his new handicap after it took a bit of a hammering last week. The first tee shot was not too auspicious when it crashed through the shrubbery at the front of the tee and made its way halfway down the hill. Despite that hiccup, he managed to score a point, and then went on to rattle off three pars in a row to set the tone for the rest of the day. By the turn, he had amassed a very respectable twenty points. Another three consecutive pars got the back nine off to a good start, although one of them, on the 11th, did require two Priems specials to keep the ball on the fairway. Another three pars in the remaining six holes helped the back nine tally to twenty-three points, and a seemingly unbeatable forty-three for the round.

Brendon bought himself a new club (2 iron), and it came with a free lesson from an on-line coach who analysed his swing and came up with a suggestion for improvement. Putting new stuff into practice during competition is not a recommended strategy, but Bren has been doing just that. And, today, it seems to have paid off, in spades. He wasn’t able to string together the sets of three pointers that Rob did, but he did manage a four pointer with a birdie on the 10th. He would probably be ruing the three singletons that were scattered across the card, and he vehemently denies putting on the handbrake when he only managed a 50m drive from the 18th tee. So, he had to be content with second place with his very respectable 42 points.

ChrisJ is heading off to warmer climates shortly, and he seems to be on a mission to accumulate as many points as he can before he departs. He, too, had a fair sprinkling of singletons, but probably not enough to have caught the winner. He also snagged a four pointer on the 16th after he went pretty close to reaching the green from the tee, which he followed up with a chip and a putt to score the birdie. This was just one more in our tally of six birdies for the day. Raj started off fairly nicely and managed to reach the turn with twenty points in hand thanks to a trio of three pointers. An unfortunate slump in form during the middle half of the back nine limited him to an eventual total of 36 points. CJ took a fairly similar path to his total of 36 points, managing twenty-one points on the front, but only fifteen on the back. His thirty-six was enough to tie up with Raj for 4th place in the main event, and enough to score top spot in the Seniors. CJ reckons this is the start of his main campaign in the latter event, but it was a bit of a disappointment to Harry who would have preferred him to have only scored 34 points.

The final placing for the day was a three-way tie. Harry was reasonably happy with his 19 points on the front nine, but less than happy with the several putts that missed going in by fractions on the back nine. Gordo also went pretty well on the front nine after snatching a birdie on the 6th and embarking on a run of single putt greens. “Six in a row, but who’s counting”! And that included his PBSU on the 7th for a single point. He only had one putt on the 15th, but after smashing his drive into the shrubbery for one of the draughties for the day, he had run out of strokes and picked up. Peter played his round the other way around, and took the first nine holes to warm up before producing nineteen points on the back to end up with 35 points to share fifth place with Harry and Gordo. He did complain about the number of short putts that he made in the process.

Prez took on the job of assigning the holes for the Nearest the Pin competition. After much deliberation, he decided on the 12th for the ProPin. And, who do you think got their name on the card with a shot to 4.64m? None other than Prez himself. Brother, CJ, thought he might have been in with a chance, and coordinated with Matt who was in charge of extending the tape. Reportedly, Matt went past the length of the tape, and handed it to CJ to wind back in. Matt’s excuse was that he didn’t have his glasses on! The first BallPin was on the 15th, and it was hotly contested, but, in this case, CJ prevailed and collected a ball for his collection. On the 18th, the BallPin was won by Peter with a shot that could end up winning him some money at 4.46m.

There were a couple more draughties today. Charlie (I always do that on this tee) got caught up in the shrubbery on the left of the 1st tee. Josh, on the other hand, waited until the 4th before he left one short of the red markers. Charlie’s front nine was punctuated by a series of ups and downs (results, not the getting in the hole variety). The back nine, however, had the handicapper looking sideways at the ‘different’ person playing. He finished off the nine in style after waiting for one of the plague of white cabbage butterflies to vacate his ball on the tee. A bit short of the green, he chunked the chip, finishing still short. Another chip scooted across the bottom deck, up the hill, hit the pin dead centre, and dropped delicately into the hole.

Gordo skinnied his approach to the 13th, and the ball ran about a metre up the hill at the back, and lodged in a deep divot. The shot that he chose to play was novel to say the least. Standing below the ball, with his back to the green, he turned his putter on its side, and used it like a hoe to ‘excavate’ the ball from its position. It went close to coming off, but needed two more shots (only one putt) to score a point. A bit of father/son rivalry is present between Matt and Josh, and, today, the match up came down to the last hole with Matt applying a bit of psychological pressure by pointing out that Josh needed to sink it from off the green to win. The putt slipped past, as did the return, leaving Matt to sink his to take the match by one point. But, maybe, Matt needs to get new grips for his clubs, as there was a suggestion that one seriously slipped out of his hands at some stage on the 14th.

The Birthday Birdie was a bit remiss last week, so here is a belated wish for Bobbie and Brent.

Michael also passed a milestone today when he racked up his 200th game since joining our esteemed ranks.

The AGM is coming up in a few weeks, and all positions on the Committee spill. Some current Committee members will not be offering themselves for their position, so there will definitely be vacant spots to be filled. There are probably things about the running of the Club that you would like to see improved, so this is your chance to get in and do something about it. A list of Committee positions and nomination forms are available on the web-site, download a copy of the form, fill it out, find a mover and seconder and send it to Craig, sooner rather than later. And, don’t worry about multiple nominations for a position, an election never hurt anybody.

The Matchplay Championship registration has six more days to go. The draw for seeding is scheduled for after the round next Saturday. The top four seeds go to the four finalists, while the rest are random chance. You can’t win it if you aren’t in it!

Results for Saturday, 17 Feb 2024
1st Robert Priems (43) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (42) 3rd Chris James (37) 4th Rajesh Mahto (36) 4th Chris Priems (36) 5th Harry Boughen (35) 5th Gordon Hill (35) 5th Peter Sein (35)

Seniors Results: 1st Chris Priems (36) 2nd Gordon Hill (35) 2nd Harry Boughen (35) 2nd Peter Sein (35) 3rd Michael Gourlay (33)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 12th Robert Priems BallPin No 1 – 15th Chris Priems BallPin No 2 – 18th Peter Sein

Side door entries

Rob, Raj, Targe, Bobby, Josh and Peps enjoying a drink after the round on 10 Feb 2024
Everybody in the points and a triple dead heat in the Seniors, almost as famous as the 1956 Hotham Handicap

Whether you were at Moonah Links or Royal Ivanhoe on Saturday, it was perfect golf weather and there were no excuses.

The Ivanhoe field finished up at seven after a couple of cancellations, with four “juniors” Prez Priems, Peps, Raj and Josh joining three seniors, Bobby, Targe and Michael.

As it turned out, with a triple tie for fourth (which coincided with a triple dead heat for first in the Seniors) everybody went home in the points.

Josh managed 11 stableford points on the front nine and there was speculation he might not beat the 20 stableford points (for 18 holes) that Matty was reported to have scored at Portsea on the Punters Club Friday. But two pars to start the back nine, including a 4-pointer on the 10th, and a strong finish including another 4-point par on the 16th, saw Josh sail home with 22 points on the back nine, 33 for the day and a championship point for 5th.

Along the way Josh made two of the best 5’s you’ll ever see on the 7th and 15th. On the 7th, Josh’s tee shot went off to the right at a 45 degree angle and finished on the 2nd fairway. He only just missed the putt for a 3-point 4 after a great second shot. On the 15th, his tee shot went left up the hill and while we expected to be able to find it, a lost ball was declared. Josh then dropped another ball up on the hill and hit a stellar wedge to a metre or so and nailed the putt.

Targe, Bobby and Michael each managed 34 points for 4th place points and (Harry please don’t choke on your Weeties) joint first in the Seniors. Bobby and Targe reported “nothing special” for the day, just solid consistent golf. Bobby finished strongly with a 4-point birdie on the 17th and 3 points on the 18th. Targe also finished strongly with a 4-point par on the 18th. Michael’s finish was less than stellar.

After losing his ball after his tee shot on the 17th (it had just dribbled into the long grass near the green but could not be found) leading to a wipe, Michael was cursing on the 18th tee when Raj somewhat bravely asked if he would be writing about himself in the blog today. A terse “no” was the reply, amongst other adjectives. Then Michael’s shot into the 18th finished on the green but left of the bottom tier pin, leaving no option but to putt it up to the top tier and down again. Three putts later, you could probably see the steam coming out of Michael’s ears down on the Mornington Peninsula. Bobby scored 7 stableford points on his last two holes, Targe 6 and Michael 1.

Peps had 36 points and if not for some errant putting and an out of bounds drive leading to a wipe on the 13th, he might have challenged for higher honours. Along the way he made a clean sweep of all three nearest the pins, a jackpot ProPin on the 4th, a jackpot (2 balls) on the 7th and the ball on the 18th as well. Harry, how many times has somebody won the clean sweep of NTPs? Peps is also the proud owner of some new golf shoes, having left his normal golf shoes at home and after arriving at the course in thongs, did a very quick shoe purchase in the pro-shop before hit off.

Raj had a wipe on the 3rd after some adventures in the long grass after his tee shot drifted right. His playing partners thought he might be hacking snakes in there and after an airy and a few other shots he would have been better off never finding the ball and playing his provisional. Nonetheless, Raj steadied and hit the turn with 18 points and then gathered steam on the back 9 with 21 points, including a great pitch and putt birdie on the 14th, one of 5 birdies for the day. However, Raj’s 39 points was only good enough for second place.

Early doors as he was heading down the 6th, word spread between the groups that Rob was on fire and so it proved, turning with 23 points. So much was he on fire that his card marker couldn’t count that far and only allocated him 21 points on the card. Hence, after 19 points on the back 9, Rob’s final total of 42 points was two more than reported at the after party. Rob’s comfortable 3 stroke victory might make Raj feel better about a putt of his that slid by on the 18th and a short missed birdie putt on the 17th.

Your Assistant Apprentice Handicapper certainly enjoyed lopping Rob’s handicap by 3.4 strokes for the win. When Rob was asked to name his highlights for the day, Peps suggested that Rob chipped well with that little chipper of his (surely that club should be illegal) while Rob said he putted well including three different putts that dropped via the side door. Targe then suggested one was both a side door entry and a back door entry but Rob was pretty adamant, no back door entries for him, it was all side door entries in the highlights reel today.

Please note; your blog writer did try and make contact with Punters Club members to get a report before deadline. However, all that had been received was a missive from Gordo saying the weather was nice. He added that “golf and company also superb” but offered no evidence to back up that statement.

Results for Saturday, 10 Feb 2024
1st Robert Priems (42) 2nd Rajesh Mahto (39) 3rd Andrew Petricola (36) 4th Michael Gourlay (34) 4th Bob McDonald (34) 4th Targe Mifsud (34) 5th Josh Hunt (33)

Seniors Results: 1st Bob McDonald (34) 1st Michael Gourlay (34) 1st Targe Mifsud (34)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Andrew Petricola BallPin No 1 – 7th Andrew Petricola BallPin No 2 – 18th Andrew Petricola

Senior’s day out on 03 February 2024.

Taking it easy
You don’t have to be a good golfer to win!

The Japanese pilots were out and about again this morning, and there was a tendency for the twelve members who made to the tee-box today to seek the spots on the fairway where the sun made its presence felt through the shadows. In contrast, as the morning progressed, the strategy changed to seek the diminishing shade, where possible, as the temperature climbed towards the predicted low thirties. Still, it did take most of the first half of the round for the dew to disappear from the greens, but it is doubtful if that is a reasonable explanation for the fairly measly two birdies that we managed to score for the day. ChrisJ managed one of those after he drove the 14th green and barely missed raiding the Eagle’s Nest. The greens did receive a treatment with wetting agent during the week, probably aimed at improving the effectiveness of watering, but, who knows, it might even help them to drain when it rains! With not a breath of wind, there would seem to have been no impediment to some fancy scoring in the contest for the February Monthly Medal.

Short game counts

So, it was a bit of a surprise when the cards kept rolling in with a seven as the first digit in the net score column. That is until Bob toddled in and laid one down on the table with a six at the front. It was only just less than seventy, but sixty-nine was exactly what was required to win the day and the Medal. Bob’s round was punctuated by a few sevens and one eight, but it was his chipping and putting that really kept him in the game. He did cause a bit of a stir at one stage when he tried to head off with his trusty electric buggy. He was a bit concerned when it didn’t move on command, having had some problems in the past, so he kept pressing the button. Problem was, he had his eye on CJ’s buggy while his was merrily ‘bobbing’ along, heading in some random direction at high speed. Fortunately, nothing was injured other than Bob’s pride.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. Targe put in his card, showing a net score of 70, which caused a bit of an ‘if only’ from JQ, who had a pretty good back nine except for a short missed putt, which would have won on a count-back if he had tied, and 70 had been the winning score. All hypothetical, of course, given that Bob settled the question about winning. However, both Targe and his marker had recorded and added the front nine scores correctly, but had recorded an incorrect value in the OUT row and subsequently in the Total and net result. CJ was also having a bit of a moan about the fact that he had scored a ‘fat lady’ and a triple that rather took the shine off his round. He also caused a bit of confusion about whether we were playing Stuart Clarke with his fairly loud Hawaiian shirt, that turned out to be promoting some other Club called the Renegades. Some people have no pride! However, the pair of them should now be pleased that they have been promoted to second place with their equal scores of 71 net. Not sure how that affects the Ball Run!

Targe and Prez were playing together, and marking each other’s card. After six holes of scoring identically, Prez decided that, if he was going to beat Targe, he had better get his act together and start making some better scores. Which he did, though the cause was helped a little when Targe played a wrong ball on the 8th. Maybe they were both hoping that the two stroke penalty would go away when they transferred the incorrect total for the nine. So a Senior and an apprentice Senior filled 3rd place with a score of 72 net, which also squeezed Harry out of a point in the Seniors (gloating not allowed, Michael!)

By and large, Harry was pretty unhappy with his short game today with an unmentionable number of short putts that actually missed the hole, not to mention the thin and fat chips around the green. There was one short game highlight when a chip, from below the green on the 9th, ran smoothly up the slope and rattled into the hole, which was located precariously close to the start of the slope. Unfortunately, there was little in the way of an audience, as the rest of the group were too busy chatting and looking elsewhere. Adam was wearing shorts today, and that seems to have translated into his putting, with a significant number coming up well short of the required distance. His second shot on the 6th also did not make the required distance. It was directed a bit to the left of the desired line to the green, and hit a tree about 50m further down so firmly that it came straight back and finished exactly in line with the point that it had been struck from, just a bit more centred in the fairway. In another scorecard fail, ChrisJ’s marker (initials GH) used the incorrect handicap for the net score calculation, so Chris’s announced placement was also incorrect. As a result of the scorecard mayhem, Porks was able to sneak into fifth place with his net score of 75.

A masochist set the first BallPin and the ProPin this week with the white tees as a starting point. The ProPin was on the 4th, and the trees played a big psychological role in causing people to ‘try’ something different. As a result, nobody was able to get within the required distance of the pin, and there will be a Jackpot for next week (note – single jackpot – two lots of money). The BallPin was set on the 7th, and the extra distance made it even harder to make the grade, which nobody did, and it will also Jackpot to next week. On the other hand, the BallPin on the 18th was hotly contested, with one member of each group getting their name on the card while at least one other member was beaten by only a couple of hundred millimetres. In the end, it was Bob who put his hand up for the pill.

Prez was also pretty pleased that he didn’t have to reach into his pocket to shout a round, and there were no other draughties made public. After Targe saw Adam’s effort on the 6th, he thought he would try the same trick with his next shot. He did hit a tree, but not nearly as hard or as cleanly, and his ball came only part way back. ChrisJ had his driver working well on occasions, and after his efforts on the 14th, he smashed a monster on the 16th, reaching almost, but not quite, to the green. And, with an affliction that seemed to be fairly rife today, Chris missed a lot of putts. Raj just could not play the par threes today, which just might explain his rather glum look after the round. With three three over and two two over, that would make just about anybody glum.

Don’t forget, registration for Matchplay is open. If you do not register that you wish to be included, you will not be included in the draw for seeding when it is made at the end of the month. Also, you have to be a financial member for the current year to be eligible. Now, there are still a number of members with their membership payments outstanding, so, if you could get that organised by transferring the necessary funds (Club and GA, if applicable) to the Club bank account (details on the website) as soon as possible, that would be great.

The Birthday Birdie did mention, last week, that today was Josh’s 21st birthday today. He’s not game to check out the party, as it could be getting a bit raucous by this stage. Have a great one, young fella, from all of your mates at Ivanhoe.

Results for Saturday, 03 Feb 2024
1st Bob McDonald (69) 2nd Chris Priems (71) 2nd John Quinlan (71) 3rd Targe Mifsud (72) 3rd Robert Priems (72) 4th Harry Boughen (74) 4th Adam King (74) 5th Ryan Porker (75)

Seniors Results: 1st Bob McDonald (69) 2nd Chris Priems (71) 3rd Targe Mifsud (72)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 7th Jackpot BallPin No 2 – 18th Bob McDonald