Bunker Boys 15/4
Tuesday, April 16th
Khao Yai Trip
1st Richard Fearby (2) 36 points
2nd Les Cobban (7) 34 points
3rd Barry Wellings (4) 33 points
Near pins Barry Wellings, Richard Fearby, Ross Schiffte, Michael Brett
One of the great joys of golf is away trips and the opportunity to play different courses and on the first day of our SongkranTrip to Khao Yai, we hit a beauty. Forest Hills also known as Sir James was a terrific layout with a different challenge on every hole. For the most part, the course was in fine condition but the greens which had recently been cored but not sanded were a real challenge, slow and bumpy and not mowed lately, it was like putting on flypaper and nobody seemed to be able to master the speed. The bunkers were also in need of attention, despite that the course presented an enjoyable experience for everybody, but the state of the greens and bunkers was reflected in the below average scoring. The one to handle the challenge best was a newbie to the Bunker Boys Richard Fearby who took the honors with Thirty-six points Second went to Les Cobban who always seems to be in the frame and another newbie Barry Wellings took third with thirty-three points. Both our new players are very low handicap golfers and handled the conditions best apart from Les. Near pins also went to the newbies with Ross Schiffte and Michael Brett taking the other two. On the way back to Pak Chong we hadn’t factored in the heavy traffic southbound on the highway and no option to make a right turn. With all the U-turns closed due to a traffic contra-flow in operation, we had to drive about thirty kilometers south before we found an open U-turn so we could get back to Pak Chong, something to factor into planning our return trip.
Wednesday, April 17th
Khao Yai Country Club
1st Gerry Cooney (19) 40 points
2nd Jimmy Carr (18) 38 points
3rd Geoff Parker (15) 38 points
Near pins Geoff Parker, Barry Wellings, and Michael Brett X 2.
If we thought yesterday was good today was on another level, the course was in beautiful condition, fairways well grassed and lush, and greens that were much easier to putt on than yesterday with even roll and good speed. Everywhere you looked around the course the scenery was breathtaking. With a green and caddie fee of six hundred and fifty baht, it was remarkable value for a course of this quality. Our ranks were swelled today with the late arrival of Gerry Cooney and Stuart Brown so the competition for places was keener than ever and this was reflected in the scoring. Michael Brett on thirty-seven and Stuart Brown with thirty-eight didn’t even make it into the winner’s circle. After a couple of warm-up games with indifferent scores, Gerry Cooner stormed back to his best taking first place with a fine round of forty points. Jimmy Carr and Geoff Parker had to be separated on countback finishing second and third respectively on thirty-eight points. Near pins went to Barry Wellings and Geoff Parker with Michael Brett taking a pair. Richard Fearby off a two handicap looked like taking the course apart with twenty-two points on the front nine only to unravel on the back with a couple of visits to the water. We did get a little rain on the seventeenth which only held us up for about ten minutes.
Thursday, April 18th
1st Barry Wellings (4) 38 points
2nd Jimmy Carr (18) 36 points
3rd Les Cobban (7) 32 points
Near pins Ross Schiffte, Barry Wellings X 3
Following the relatively wide open fairways of Khao Yai Country Club yesterday, today we had to contend with one of the most intimidating courses on our trip so far. There were a number of challenging carries, and anywhere off the fairway was big trouble, correct club selection was required at all times as well as being straight. Just to add a bit of extra spice to the game the wind was strong at times. For such a highly rated course it was in less than ideal condition, in particular, the greens were looking shabby and without attention soon they will deteriorate very quickly. Another Pattaya group were out ahead of us so we teed off on the tenth and were lucky to finish before a storm hit, it had been threatening for some time but luckily just when it seemed most menacing it moved away and we completed the round dry. Despite the difficulty of the course, some relished the challenge none more than our winner Barry Wellings with a great score of thirty-eight points. Barry also nailed three near pins all of which he converted into birdies. Jimmy Carr took second place with thirty-six points with Les Cobban in third on thirty-two. Ross Schiffte took the fourth near pin. Richard Fearby gave an exhibition of magnificent driving, extremely long and straight and was on just about every green in regulation or less, but was once again was let down by some indifferent putting, not converting any and even throwing in a bogey or two. Had he putted like Barry he would have been well below scratch for the round.
Friday, April 19th
1st Les Cobban (7) 40 points
2nd Stuart Brown (10) 37 points
3rd Barry Wellings (4) 36 points
Near pins Barry Wellings, Ross Schiffte, Richard Fearby, Les Cobban.
Today we were due to play the Seve Ballesteros designed Mountain Creek course. This is a course viewed with great trepidation by many golfers, some have even vowed to never play it again, so when we heard that Bonanza was in great condition and we could secure a ten thirty tee off time we jumped at the opportunity. As it turned out the course was in fine condition except for the greens which were surprisingly slow even though they didn’t look that way. We had the course to ourselves so there was no pressure despite our lead group being particularly slow. At various times one or more from this group were offline and spent much time looking for balls. Another challenge was a lack of English by the caddies who were unable to communicate hidden hazards to players which contributed to the problem
Les Cobban who had a good week finished it in fine style taking first place with forty points, Les also generously rang the bell back at the hotel, it’s not true what they say about Scotsmen, at least some of them. Stuart Brown in only his second game of the trip took second place with a solid thirty-seven points and Barry Wellings who also had a good week finished third with thirty-six. Near pins went to Ross Schiffte, Barry Wellings, Richard Fearby, and Les Cobban.