According to reports, the number of people playing golf has boomed since the pandemic caused a rethink of contact sports and social distancing. Which begs the question, where the bloody hell are you? It is the first day of the school holidays, and the snow fields are open, but that probably goes only part way to explaining why we only had fourteen members on the tee this morning. There was some speculation that the inclusion of the syllable ‘par’ in the name of the competition might have contributed in some part as well. or, maybe, a lot of people just got better offers that they could not refuse. As it turned out, the weather was lovely, and, although the course was a bit squishy in places, there was no significant reason why you couldn’t make a score of some sort, particularly with the extra pluses on offer from the GrandPar format.
When ChrisJ smashed his drive a mile down the first, the first question he was asked was – what handicap are you playing off? His response of – twenty-one – resulted in deathly silence and a certain degree of disbelief. The plus on the first was not quite a foregone conclusion, but it was the result just the same. When he proceeded to par the second, and with two strokes in hand for a double plus, the stage certainly looked set for a round to be reckoned with. The pace did slacken a bit for the rest of the nine, and, despite an attempt to claim another ‘doubler’ on the 6th, the tally at the turn remained at a pretty respectable plus three. The flat stick was working pretty well, and a long curling putt on the 12th for a birdie racked up yet another genuine ‘doubler’. This was followed by another three plus scores that included pars on the 14th and 15th. Yet another par on the 16th resulted in the third doubler for the day, and this more than helped to bring home the bacon and his first win with the very impressive +8 points. These three doubles represented a fair proportion of the seven that we scored as a group.
Noodles also helped with the tally of doubles when he pitched in from about 40m out to birdie the 10th. Having taken the whole of the front nine to warm up, this effort was enough to inspire him to equal par on the back nine and turn his -3 at the turn into a +1 at the post. Brendon gets five of his eight strokes on the front nine and that helped him to stay in the event with +2 at the turn. The scoring was just a fraction harder to come by on the back and a final result of +1 was enough to score a share of second place. Whitey didn’t stray far from the centre-line, either on the course or on the score-card. There was one minor aberration on the 13th where he discovered that canines do not necessarily understand the meaning of the word ‘Fore’. A dog and his human on the track by the 13th were lucky to come off unscathed when his drive flirted with the dangers in that area. The human took evasive action, but the dog was oblivious.
Chrispy mounted the tee on the 8th and stated confidently – I reckon I can double point this one! The demon driver created by Damo’s coaching smacked one straight (I kid you not) down the left of centre. Just a pity that Damo was not here to witness the beauty of his work. CJ’s second, with the ‘wrong’ club (according to him) finished just off the green pin high. The putter rattled the ball into the hole for the ‘easiest’ of birdies and the ‘nominated’ double pointer. This helped CJ finish in positive territory at the turn, but, despite assurances that he would call more on the back, nothing eventuated and a square card was the best that he could round up to take out third place.
Michael was reported to be not particularly happy about the way that he played today, despite finishing just the one stroke outside his handicap for the round. He did pull his socks up on the back to finish in positive territory for that nine. SOS ended tied up with Michael, but with long strings of square results on the cards that could easily have been something better if the putter had been a little more friendly. Stefan rounded out the podium positions with his tally of -2. He had some complaints during the week about early starts and not being able to see his ball. This seems to have applied well into the round, as his group spent significant amounts of time searching for his ball on numerous occasions.
Despite holding the group behind up for what seemed like ages on the first, Michael and Stef were facing off toe to toe in their Matchplay semi-final. Both off five, it was bound to be decided stroke for stroke. Stef got away to a good start and looked as if he might have Michael’s measure to be three up after four holes. Michael’s early warm-up out the back and on the practice greens looked to be on the verge of paying off with a chance to square it up at the ninth. Stef’s par and Michael’s missed putt sent the result the other way. Another putting aberration on the 10th on Michael’s part resulted in a square, and this was seen to be the major factor in determining the final outcome. The match ran square from the thirteenth to the fifteenth, and went dormie one at the 17th. Michael’s loss on the 18th gave the match to Stef, 2 up.
The Jackpot ProPin on the 4th had not been claimed when the penultimate group went through and there was a hope, nay, an expectation, that there might be a double up for grabs next week. Unfortunately, Old Reliable was in the last group, and he managed to put his drive to 3.3m and stake a valid claim for the dosh. The first BallPin was on the 12th and the first two groups fought it out for that one with Stef coming out the victor after edging out Noodles. The 18th had the pin on the top deck, which always seems to challenge everybody to get it close. CJ was hopeful after he managed to edge out Whitey, but, in the end, it was up to Brendon to pip them at the post and collect the ball on offer. He wasn’t close enough, however, to score the birdie and that possibly goes some way to explaining why we only managed to score nine for the day.
The blue tees were well to the back on the 3rd and the reds were right at the front, so the stage was set to trap anybody who did not quite get it away off the tee. Whitey went close, but he did (late breaking news – didn’t) manage to get his ball past the dreaded red markers. Harry was not quite so lucky in picking this particular hole to ‘duff’ his drive and to register the only (late breaking news – second) authenticated draughtie for the day. Ken didn’t have the greatest of days, and he was so desperate to be ‘somewhere else’ that he sent one ball heading across the river in the direction of the Kew course over the way. Jim reckons he has worked out how to use his fancy new ‘watch’ and he was comparing notes with Brendon and his range-finder as they stood beside a ball on the 16th. After what seemed to be an age, it was pointed out that their balls were further up the fairway, and the ball they were standing over belonged to somebody playing the 14th. No wonder they were a hole and a half behind.
Results for Saturday, 26 June 2021
1st Chris James (+8) 2nd Stephen Butterfield (+1) 2nd Brendon Mitchell (+1) 2nd Rodney White (+1) 3rd Chris Priems (□) 4th Michael Gourlay (-1) 4th Stephen O’Sullivan (-1) 5th Stefan Belevski (-2)
Seniors Results: 1st Rodney White (+1) 2nd Chris Priems (□) 3rd Michael Gourlay (-1)
Nearest the Pin Results: ProPin – 4th Craig Cameron BallPin No 1 – 12th Stefan Belevski BallPin No 2 – 18th Brendon Mitchell