MONDAY 15/16/17 OCTOBER
Having a trip away with friends and a change of venue from the norm is always something to look forward to and a trip to Kanchanaburi, close to the Myanmar border, is as good as any and 44 golfers made their way west on Monday morning knowing the courses were going to be spectacular. We were not disappointed. Leaving before the sun was fully awake and many drivers hopefully were still in their beds, we had a pleasant ride to our first stop which was Royal Ratchaburi. At the earliest opportunity, Capt. Bob made particular mention of Bob Pearce who organized every aspect of the trip to ensure that everything ran smoothly, which it did, to everyone’s delight. Well done and thank you Bob.
ROYAL RATCHABURI – Highly recommended by those that have played here previously, this slightly hilly course is set in pleasant countryside and contains many good and testing holes with views of the distant mountains. The fairways are generous but woe betide those that stray off the straight and narrow for the dense trees lining the fairways and a profusion of bunkers ( as many as 13 on 1 hole) will make life difficult for you as will the local residents – thousands of monkeys – who seem to have no appreciation of golf. The greens and fairways are in excellent condition which is why the scores were so good. John Stafford came 5th with 37 points but was not helped by 2 blobs on his card but he was just short of Dave Brawley on 38 points just 1 point from 3rd place and Ian Moore carding a gross 34 on the back nine a further 1 point from 2 golfers with 40 points. Jason Barnett lost out to Mike Quill for, although he had 5 pars on the last 6 holes, his 5 handicap proved to be the difference having 13 points to Mike’s 15. The greens were so true, we had nine 2s.
GRAND PRIX – The word spectacular does not do credit to this golf course. Standing on the balcony of the clubhouse, situated on the highest point in the area, the panoramic views are astounding for you can see that the course is surrounded by mountains, many over the border in Myanmar, and the vast expanse of lush, green grass and water around the course. It is impossible to have a poor lie on the fairways but water on 14 of the holes can have you running to the golf shop to replenish you supply of balls. My caddie, obviously a fan of Lewis Hamilton, took the name of the course to heart but, fortunately, do not have a turbo charged buggie and we finished without incident. Capt. Bob had a good day with 35 points and 5th place 1 point behind Martin Cooke who had 2 blobs on his card. Peter Terry had 23 on the front nine but fell away at the turn for 37 points losing on a countback to Sel Wegner who had two 4 pointers on the way home to help him to claim 2nd place but Jason Barnett carded a 71 gross and 42 points despite dropping 2 shots on the last 2 holes. The par 3s are not long at Grand Prix but punish severely those that do not hit the green and yielded nine 2s.
LAM LUK KA – With 36 holes and situated on the outskirts of Bangkok , C & D is another beautiful manicured course with a more open design than the previous two courses but, beware, for there is water on every hole just waiting for the opportunity to relieve you of that new ball. After 2 days of making merry, the scores were not quite as impressive, which is hardly surprising, but good all the same. A countback was needed to separate the minor placings with Wayne Cotterell having 2 blobs on the back nine cancelled out with two 4 pointers for 18 points but Paul Hack accumulated 19 points on the back to occupy 4th place. Gerard Lambert had high expectations after 21 points on the way out but 2 blobs on the way in placed him in 3rd place with 36 points. Mick Beresford pushed the star of the trip, Jason Barnett, to a countback on 37 points but a blob on the back allowed Jason to occupy top spot once again. There were five 2s making the total birdies on par 3s to 22 these last 3 days perhaps to highlight how good were the greens.
OVERALL – Ian Moore, Wayne Cotterell and Gerard Lambert shared 4th place each with 103 points followed closely by Selwyn Wegner and Mike Quill on 106 to share 2nd place but there could only be one winner and that was Jason Barnett playing brilliant golf on each of the 3 days off his 5 handicap.