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One for the birds on 29 June 2024.

Brendon tosses the v!
Just like flipping the bird!

There were twelve members on the books, but, in the light of the weather forecasts, there was some early speculation that the groups might need re-rearranging. However, in the fullness of time, the full complement rolled up to the check-in, although there was some concern that Charlie might not be able to pay because Dan had his money. SOS has been taking lessons from Brendon in the art of tightly folding notes, and shrapnel was almost the order of the day. SOS had a great time checking for any ‘valuable’ ones. As far as the weather was concerned, it was certainly overcast with a fair sort of a breeze to make thing interesting. In due course, enough light forced its way under or through, and we were able to set off, although it was a couple of holes before the flight of the ball could be seen reliably. At least it wasn’t raining – yet. And the course was remarkably dry, and the greens were fast – for the moment.

The rain made a few half-hearted efforts to start, and it might have been the wind that made it difficult. However, later, when the wind died down a bit, the rain did make its presence felt, more at the level of annoyance than posing a real problem. The view was expressed at one stage that anyone returning a positive score would be lying, and estimates of the winning score were further downgraded once the rain put in an appearance. What the pessimists hadn’t accounted for was the presence of Mr Steady himself, Brendon. Never one to be rushed, Brendon put in a steady enough performance on the front nine, and appeared to be living up to the doomsayer’s predictions to reach the turn one point below the line, although that result was improved by a birdie on the 6th. However, he had obviously brought his wet weather shoes, and absolutely sprinted around the back nine, taking one stroke less than par, and adding four more birdies (two by chipping in) to his little bag. That was almost half of the eleven birdies that the whole field could manage, which, considering the perceived conditions, was a good return from twelve players. Brendon’s plus two score-line means that he will have to try just a little harder next week, but he does collect eight points for his first place on the day.

Second place was shared around with three contenders on the podium step. Harry managed to finish the front nine in positive territory, but the back nine did not maintain the rage (probably engendered some at stages). He did go mighty close to scaring the Eagle on the 17th when his approach ran across the edge of the hole and finished about a metre past. Charlie wasn’t able to come out on the positive side of the ledger on the front, with the low light being an airie on the 5th tee, from which he recovered to square the hole. The back nine fared much better, and although he was helped by an impressive recovery from long grass onto the green to putt for par, he immediately countered with a loss on the 18th. Dan was the star of the front nine when he made the turn at plus two. A run of losses in the middle half of the back knocked a fair hole in that, and he emulated Charlie with a win/loss result on the last two holes.

Blighty commented on the fact that his front nine had consisted entirely of fives and sixes, which left him right up there with a chance as he rounded the turn on minus one. He went close to repeating the strokes on the back nine, except that he did manage to squeeze in a couple of fours. He spoiled his chance for a better score-line on the 17th where his tee-shot speared off at about 87 degrees to the intended line, hit the tombstone dead centre, just about took his head off as it went past, and disappeared into the shrubbery down the hill. Ever hopeful, a search was made on the teaching fairway, but only ‘coach’ balls were to be found. He’ll gladly accept three points for third with a three under.

Michael came into the Clubhouse with a very concerned look on his face, and made a bee-line for the pile of submitted cards that Prez was jealously guarding. When his card was handed in, the cause for his concern became obvious, although, with the lead that he has in the Seniors, there is probably little cause for concern. There was the usual talk of missed opportunities to explain the minus four result that ensued. SOS, on the other hand, was checking and rechecking his arithmetic to be sure that the results would stand up to scrutiny. Maybe it was down to a recent change in handicap, but he took a stroke on the 17th where there was not one due, so he was demoted to join Michael in 4th place. He did lay claim to one of the day’s birdies after he played a fading shot around the tree on the 3rd, and then putted from off the green to sink the putt, quite possibly winning the ‘drainer’ of the day. Pepsi commented on how good it was to get out and about again, despite the slightly adverse conditions. He went very close to filling his card with fours and fives, and only spoiled it be making a three on the 12th. Not a great result for a man of his ability, but minus five got him a point for fifth place, and he plans to come back next week to win the Monthly Medal on offer. And that would be a nice little present for his birthday, which is coming up, and for which the Birthday Birdie wishes him Many Happys.

The ProPin today was a jackpot on the 4th, and, although there was a nearly-almost (5.1m reportedly), nobody got close enough and there will be a Double jackpot up for grabs next week. The first BallPin was on the 15th, and it, too, went begging, leaving a jackpot to be contested next week. The pin on the 18th was on the top deck of the green, which is generally considered to be a more difficult location to reach. No such problems for a couple of people, however it does present a bit of a conundrum. Brendon pipped Michael for our BallPin, but Michael seems to have collected the money for the ProShop ProPin while Brendon took out the best score. Was Brendon in such a hurry to get away to his kid’s basketball that he forgot to add his name to the card?

CJ managed to tear himself away from the Frog, and his only comment at the end of the round was that he had finished. He did have a couple of adventures along the way, though. Now he is rather well known for a couple of things – his power fade and his uncanny symbiotic relationship with trees. Whether he was allowing for his ‘power fade’ or not, but his drive from the 4th headed well into the ‘swamp’ on the left side of the fairway. The sound of contact with a tree was heard, followed by several seconds of silence, followed by the ball appearing from nowhere to land neatly on the fairway. Later on, he had taken his remote controlled buggy up onto the 15th tee to be sure that he had the option to select the correct club for the distance. As he bent down to place his ball and tee, he was made aware of the fact that his buggy had taken off and was heading down the hill towards the 14th green. Much fumbling in pocket to recover the controller to save the buggy from complete disaster. Fortunately, there was no water filled hazard nearby to reproduce the fate of another member recently.

Next week is the July Monthly Medal, so a good chance to come along and collect a bit of silverware for the games room. It is also close to the anniversary of the passing of our old mate Keith Delzoppo, and, to mark the occasion, there will be a barbecue and a drink of your choice afterwards to mark the occasion. It would be nice to see a good roll-up, particularly from those who have known Keith over the years and who have appreciated his sportsmanship and good nature.

Results for Saturday, 29 Jun 2024
1st Brendon Mitchell (+2) 2nd Harry Boughen (-2) 2nd Charles Gibbs (-2) 2nd Dan Marie (-2) 3rd Andrew Blight (-3) 4th Michael Gourlay (-4) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (-4) 5th Andrew Petricola (-5)

Seniors Results: 1st Harry Boughen (-2) 2nd Andrew Blight (-3) 3rd Michael Gourlay (-4)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 15th Jackpot BallPin No 2 – 18th Brendon Mitchell

Raj back at No. 1

Today's winner Raj with Craig and Michael on the first tee
Raj under the moon on the first tee

When the first group of Raj, Craig and Michael teed off with a morning moon and some mild fog on the shortest day of the year, Michael declared that as the winner would probably come from this group, he may as well save some time and get the main blog photo out of the way early.

And the prediction was correct, with Raj today’s winner with 35 points.

Raj’s highlight, along with his trademark expert lob wedge chipping around the greens was a bomb of a putt for a birdie on the 15th, one of five birdies from the small field of nine.

The lowlight was a birdie putt on the 17th that was dead-centre but with the pin in and angled a bit towards him, it bounced against the pin and stayed out. With pin out there is no doubt that was in the hole, it was dead-centre and rolling slowly. Raj was certainly robbed of one there, but as it turns out he didn’t need it anyway.

Raj after his win on 22 June 2024
Raj/Scottie over the moon after his win and regaining the No. 1 IOWGR ranking

With the win, Raj returns to the top (Scottie Scheffler) ranking in the Ivanhoe version of the Official World Golf Rankings (IOWGR), a new Harry the wizard initiative you can find on the website under Competitions/Order of Merit Table. Michael slipped back to second (Rory McIlroy) and Brendon is third (Xander Scahuffele).

Craig managed third today with 33 points, including a brilliant birdie on the 7th after a tee shot to about 5 feet and another birdie on the 14th after a great second shot and nailing a tricky downhill left to right slider.

Michael managed a point for 5th with 31 points, with his highlight being the luckiest 5 for 1 ever on the 8th. After a shocking duffed tee shot into the left trees, he tried to hit a driver off the deck under the trees for his second and sliced it badly and it was heading out of bounds on the right at a great rate of knots before bouncing back off a wooden stake and far enough back into the fairway that he had a relatively easy third shot to the green. He was almost too embarrassed to take the point.

The second group out, Whitey, SOS and Steve were “up the arses” of Group 1 all day, having to wait on most shots. The round was clocked at 4hr 6 mins which it was agreed for a 3 in a stableford round is at least 20 minutes too long, so next time around Raj, Michael and Craig need to smarten up and find a minute a hole, and some. Despite the frustrations of slow play, Whitey with 34 points earned himself second place points (and first in the Seniors) and SOS with 32 was fourth.

SOS’s birdie on the 14th was his highlight, coming off a good par on the 13th, although Whitey reckons SOS’s tee shot on the 15th was more noteworthy – short and left high up the hill and lost for all money but somehow bobbled its way down the hill through the thick wet grass out onto the flat. A good second shot followed and SOS only just missed the par putt. Whitey was still shaking his head after the round about how the tee shot made it out of that long grass on the hill.

We won’t mention the scores in the final group of Harry, Dan and Stan, although Dan hit a great shot into the 12th to about 10 feet to knock off SOS for the ball on offer there. As is usual when the 4th is chosen for the ProPin, Jack Pot won there again. Michael won the ball on the 18th.

Stan wins best trick shot of the day. Standing over his second on the 5th with an awkward side hill lie (especially awkward for a lefty) beside the 7th tee, the ball started to roll during Stan’s back swing. Unperturbed, Stan adjusted his downswing and connected with the ball, hitting it on the run.

Under Rule 9.4b, if it was agreed Stan didn’t cause the ball to move, no penalty applies. Likewise, if Stan was able to stop himself in his backswing, he could have replaced the ball and then played the shot without penalty. As it happens, Stan recorded a 5 for 2 there on the 5th as well as winning trick shot of the day.

Photo taken by SoS of the morning moon as we teed off with balloon crossing the moon
SoS balloon and moon

The other competition was who could take the best photo of the morning moon. Thanks to everybody who supplied their photos. SOS’s probably wins because he manages to capture a balloon crossing over the moon. Honourable mentions to Whitey and Raj for their moonshots.

Let’s see if we can beat nine starters for next week’s Par Comp. There’s a whole $9 jackpot up for grabs on the ProPin on the 4th.

Rumour has it that Peps will be a starter next week. My money is on him to win the money.

Meanwhile, best wishes to everybody on the injured/recovery/rehab list at the moment, including Prez Priems (dud knee), Chrispy (dud shoulder) and Gordo (dud shoulder). Best of luck boys. Hoping to see you back swinging as soon as possible.

Results for Saturday, 22 Jun 2024
1st Rajesh Mahto (35) 2nd Rodney White (34) 3rd Craig Cameron (33) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (32) 5th Michael Gourlay (31)

Seniors Results: 1st Rodney White (34) 2nd Craig Cameron (33) 3rd Michael Gourlay (31)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Jackpot BallPin No 1 – 12th Dan Marie BallPin No 2 – 18th Michael Gourlay

Points all round on 15 June 2024.

Gordo cracks a smile
It’s been a long time between drinks!

The pundits were tipping it would be a day for easy points. Despite the rounds of emails, no extras were forthcoming to bolster the rather paltry field of six, so we only needed one tie for the whole field to share in the goodies on offer. For some reason, the management had some ground staff on the job, and the greens had been cleared and swept of dew. The rains during the week had had a chance to soak in, but there were still preferred lies on offer for the taking. Raj nominated himself to go back to the ProShop to check when the question was raised on the first, only to return with the news that there was a nice big sign prominently placed at the entrance which nobody had noticed in the general milling around before tee time arrived. The tee time arrived, and passed, as the first group vacillated while trying to decide whether to hit off and take their chances or not.

fog'n'mist on the first
That was only a practice swing, I swear!

Eventually, Craig bit the bullet and stepped up to the tee, and, as would be expected, whacked one straight down the middle – as far as could be seen. Prez and Gordo soon followed suit, and then it was up to the second group to decide whether the ghostly shadows in the mist were people or not before trying to follow suit. Conservative play was the order of the day, and group one finished the first with a round of bogies, with which they were pretty pleased. Group two was not quite so lucky. Harry went close to scoring a birdie after his shot from about 70m finished pin high, not much more than a hand-span from the hole. Raj managed a bogie, while Stan found all sorts of strife, though with the same ball, and finished out of the points.

However, the day really belonged to Gordo, who seemed to revel in the foggy conditions. If it hadn’t been for a pair of one pointers on the front nine, he would have left the rest of the field front nine scores in the dust, if there was any on the damp fairways. As the fog began to lift, however, Gordo seems to have become a little disoriented and his rate of scoring fell right away. On one hole, he apparently used driver, 1 iron, 1 iron, wedge to finish near enough to the hole to tap it in for a bogie. This seems to indicate the not even Gordo can hit a 1 iron! However, when the sun finally broke through on the 15th, he bolted for home to finish with 32 points for the round, and the winner’s podium, to make a fitting curtain call before he goes under the knife to get his ‘golfing’ shoulder fixed up. He’s apparently put in a request for a slight draw bias! Here’s hoping the job goes well, and that there are a few more podium spots to be held before the end of the season after you get back into the swing in a few months time. Gordo has promised to drop in for a visit from time to time in the meantime.

just like Augusta
Trust the tee to be in front of the ball washer!

Craig mostly carried on, as he had started off, with ‘conservative’ play straight down the middle, which resulted in a pretty steady accumulation of points. A scattering of double bogies with strokes and bogies without put just a bit of rain on the parade, and in the end he could only scrape together thirty-one points for the round. Rob, on the other hand, was much more up and down, and managed to accumulate a total of eight pickets on his way to sharing second place with Craig with thirty-one points as well. In the process, he chipped in for birdie on the 14th, which was the only one that the field managed for the day. He went close to repeating the effort on the 15th, but then, he started to worry that he might win and blow another stroke from his handicap, and, rather suspiciously, gathered two of his pickets on the next two holes.

Raj wandered from the straight and narrow a few times today, but he has a happy knack of extricating himself, and puts his ridiculously lofted chips to good use to finish near to the hole. His drive on the 17th looked to be flirting with the possibility of wet feet. On the tee, Stan had opined that he should aim to put it out into the shadow of the tree on the corner. While Raj headed for the water hole, Stan gave him a hoi that his ball was out in the shadow on the fairway, as he had directed. Thank goodness for trees, said Raj as he pitched it in close to the pin. Curse the putter, said Raj, is it rimmed the cup and popped out. Easy par though. Harry’s round was pretty much two halves. Half good results and half the other! Four misses and five pickets definitely made it hard to score more than the twenty-seven that slotted him into fourth place. And, Stan is more than happy to take a point for his card of 20 points after a day that proved remarkably difficult to get a decent shot away from the tee, and a few other places as well.

The ProPin was set on the ‘easy’ 12th hole, except that it almost wasn’t ‘easy’. It remained untouched until the last shot of the day, when Raj knocked his drive to a finish pin high and a metre from the hole. He was a bit cheesed that he missed the birdie putt. And he won’t be taking his wife out to dinner on the proceeds. The first BallPin was on the 15th, and this was a no contest when Prez was able to both get on and to be closer than anybody else. Not only that, but he repeated the performance on the 18th to take out the second BallPin as well.

Results for Saturday, 15 Jun 2024
1st Gordon Hill (32) 2nd Craig Cameron (31) 2nd Robert Priems (31) 3rd Rajesh Mahto (30) 4th Harry Boughen (27) 5th Stan Blackshaw (20)

Seniors Results: 1st Gordon Hill (32) 2nd Craig Cameron (31) 3rd Harry Boughen (27)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 12th Rajesh Mahto BallPin No 1 – 15th Robert Priems BallPin No 2 – 18th Robert Priems

One of the best on 08 June 2024

Pretty pleasing really!
I knew I had it in me!

There was a sense of anticipation about this morning as the smallish field of twelve gathered around to not go gallivanting around the countryside to celebrate somebody’s birthday. There were a couple of matches to progress, and there was wonderment at the number of strokes that Brendon was going to have to concede to Bob. Harry had done due diligence to confirm that his result checking software would be able to stand the strain. The early birds had hit off into the dark again to stay in front of the pack, and the hint of a mist that hung in the air held off, and all was good to go. Charlie knew that he had avoided his bush, but little else, and Prez called it right, towards the tree line. In actual fact, it was down the left and past the distance marker. Was this to be a sign of things to come? Would Charlie continue to hit them like a demon, and would Prez continue to see balls fly where they didn’t?

The answer to both questions was probably, no! For sure and for certain, in Rob’s case, he could barely put a foot wrong as he barrelled his way around the front nine to take the turn just four strokes over the card, thanks to a couple of birdies, and 23 points to the good. He did admit to a bit of ‘luck’ on the 7th when his drive hit an ‘imaginary’ object on the fairway, flew high in the air and finished some 10-12m from the pin. Whereupon, he took out his trusty putter and promptly rattled it in for the bird. His back nine was barely different as he finished five over the card, but without the help of birdies, for another 20 points. The total of 43 points pretty much streeted the rest of the field and seriously enhanced the downward trend of his handicap over recent times. His off the stick tally of 77 was just short of a personal best 76, that you have to go all the way back to 1999 to find. However, it was his best since the corresponding weekend in 2017 when he clocked a 78 on June 10th. Happy Anniversary, you might say!

After coming home in the second group, Michael and Ryan were sitting at the table, hoping against hope that their equal tally of 36 points would be enough to snare them top spot. As is often the case, early clubhouse leaders have their hopes dashed, but not often by such a great margin. As usual, Michael was bemoaning a fluffed chip on the 15th as the mental terror of the day that potentially robbed him of a better placing (tell him he’s dreamin’). However, he was also bragging about the number of holes that he had parred by playing driver and one iron. And that included the 14th! And everybody knows that not even God can hit a one iron. Ryan found himself behind a tree140m out on the 16th, and opted to hook it around the tree as all direct shots were cut off. He didn’t account for a low-hanging branch on the far side which the ball ‘found’, and he had little idea of where the ball headed. Except that it headed straight for the green, and finished close enough for him to sink the putt for a par. He obviously used up all of his luck, and he would be bemoaning the gash on the 17th that might have robbed him of a better place (ditto as above).

The Captain holds forth
I didn’t realise the Captain had so many duties!

Brendon had quite a few things on his mind today, not least of which was the 23 strokes that he had to concede to Bob in their match. Despite that heavy load (and that of being Captain), he managed to make the turn not too far off his handicap with 39 off the stick and seventeen points on the card. In the match, he had taken an early lead, but Bob had started on the come-back trail and the lead was back to two holes at the turn. On the 11th, it looked as if Bob was in with a chance to claw another one back with Brendon, under the trees (having hit two – trees, that is) playing his third shot. This shot was described by Brendon as a ‘running wedge’, although it did run a bit more than he intended (so he says), and he was left with a 15m putt. Needless to say, he sank it for his par to square the hole. Overall, his back nine was slightly better than the front, and he ended with 18 points for a total of 35 and third place. Along the way, he prevailed over Bob to finish the match at the 15th, 4 and 3.

Although he was beaten, he certainly was not bowed, and Bob put in a very creditable performance to finish the day with 33 points to fill the fourth podium stage and to collect another couple of points. The card was only spoiled by a couple of blow out holes. Despite his rather speccy start, Charlie only had a few moments on the front nine. One of these was a very nice birdie on the 3rd, which helped his Eclectic campaign no end. With only a few more rounds before he decamps to London, he is going to be a hard man to toss in that event. The standard picked up quite a bit on the back nine, and even Charlie began to have dreams of grandeur. Then the 17th drive finished in the kikuyu necessitating a couple of hacks to get out, and the dreams started to turn to dust. Well, almost. He did finish with 31 points and collected the last point for the day.

The second match of the day was between Adam and Raj. But, despite it being described as a ‘battle of the duds’, it was very much a close-run thing. Raj did get out to an early lead, as Adam took about half a dozen holes to get himself warmed up. Raj started leaking oil on the 6th when a played a shot for the green, which hit a tree so hard that it flew back beyond where Raj stood and went close to taking out a group standing on the 2nd tee. Adam continued to score while Raj’s shoulders drooped more and more. By the 11th, where Raj was spotted trudging across from the far side of the 13th fairway, the card was back to square. The next few holes were a Mexican stand-off, until Adam resumed his spurt to win 14 and 15, only to promptly lose the next two to make it all square once more. When they squared the 18th, it was off to the practice green for a chip-off. Nerves obviously got to Adam, and he barely made it onto the green, while Raj was better placed, but still no gimme. Both putts missed by a similar amount, and the tension was now palpable. Adam ran his by, while Raj calmly slotted his, and it was all over, red rover giving the match to Raj on the first ship-off.

There was a Jackpot ProPin on the 7th today, and after he popped a shot to 1.73m, Porks was quietly confident that he would be taking home the cash as he enquired from the Treasurer what the pool added up to. He needn’t have worried, although he did do a double take when he misheard Stan made a comment about somebody going close to beating him. The BallPin on the 12th was hotly contested, but it was Bobby-dazzler who marched in victorious. There was a similar contest on the 18th, although Michael was calling for a tape measurement when he found he had been dudded by Prez on the top deck.

the suspense is killing me
That’s gotta be playable…….

Gordo was probably a bit jet-lagged, having barely arrived back from China after 22 hours on the road (figuratively speaking), but he soldiered on through the highlights (a birdie on the 11th, one of 9 for the day), and the lowlights (his drive on the 9th, that barely made it off the mound, let alone to the red markers). Steve pulled off a never-before-seen feat when he ‘drove’ the green on the 1st. Only problem was, it was the 9th green after the ball hit the elm tree off to the right so hard that it finished not far off the aforesaid 9th green. Despite the inauspicious start, Steve finished just outside the points. Harry got himself into a couple of tricky spots today, and, with any hope of a podium out of reach, a shot from this spot seemed to be a ‘no-brainer’. That’s what he said about himself as he eventually took the penalty that he should have in the first place.

Results for Saturday, 08 Jun 2024
1st Robert Priems (43) 2nd Michael Gourlay (36) 2nd Ryan Porker (36) 3rd Brendon Mitchell (35) 4th Bob McDonald (33) 5th Charles Gibbs (31)

Seniors Results: 1st Michael Gourlay (36) 2nd Bob McDonald (33) 3rd Steven Gervasoni (28)

Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 7th Ryan Porker BallPin No 1 – 12th Bob McDonald BallPin No 2 – 18th Robert Priems