Tropical Bert’s 04 & 07/03
Friday The 7th March 2014: Wangjuntr( Stableford ) I sometimes wonder if on a day such as this I should not try to get some one else to do the report, as I have clear views of the Course that some of the others so clearly disagree with. This was my first visit to this The Highlands Course and one I had heard so much about, so I thought I would go along. I have played the other Course and though it very interesting.
It is a long drive there but once you get past Greenwood it is all downhill and the trick is to go with either a kind player with a car, or jump on the bus. On arrival you drop your clubs off and walk up the steep steps to the Clubhouse. It is a fair climb but if you wait they will run you up there on a sort of small flatbed with seats on. However just having arrived and looking forward to the day, most skip up the stairs like Spring Lambs, till near the top.
The changing room is small but comfortable, but then you can walk down the steps to the caddies. Here the fun starts as they load you on to the back of a truck and take you for a drive through the countryside for ten minutes or so until you debark at a rest stop. With us, that is when the caddies went off with the truck to find some carts. This is a fine time to top up on water and other such goodies.
When the carts arrived, we all loaded up in our cart and started the long drive, maybe 5 to 10 minutes, uphill to the first tee We stopped at a rest stop and I was surprised to see a set of steps up the side. I then was told we teed off on this hole from the roof of the rest stop. Not bad actually a great view down to a green that seemed a long way away.So there we were and all we had to do to get on to the roof was drive for miles, take a pickup up a hill, take a truck to a café in the wilds, go for a drive in a cart and climb onto a roof. And that was the easy bit.
The drive, with a golf club, from the roof was very interesting as we then went down the hill in the cart and I lost Darren as he got out of his cart and went for a walk across the fairway as his ball was on the left and this was when I discovered that carts were not allowed on the Course. However so far so good and I was enjoying the fresh air and the scenery.
Have you ever taken a cart and not been allowed off the cart path. You tend to walk as far as you would not taking a cart and this I think is where those who enjoyed the Course and those who did not parted. I have been on rollercoasters that were more level.
This Course is amongst the most picturesque I have seen, that is undisputable, it is also the one with the biggest climbs and drops I have ever played, for me also rock solid. So here we have the difference between those who thought the Course really fine and those who thought it a bit too much and gimmicky. And maybe it all has to do with age or ability.
Some of the holes are so above or below it defies logic, and holes like the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ entails you look at a green way above you with flat levels every hundred yards or so. Now hit on one of these flats and you have to go from the cart to the ball and climb to the green following the ball while your caddy dashes back and fro from the cart. However once we got to the top of the hill we were usually met with large greens in fine condition that had wicked hollows on them. Indeed one green has a pond in the middle with yellow stakes.
After 13 holes I was absolutely physically beaten and they should have a health warning advising the ‘Not as young as they were’ to take insurance out before playing the Course. I scored one points in the last 5 holes. Bit tough to say the least, with shoulder and back not working and my legs aching. Oh to be young again.
Round over it was a reverse action all the way to Pattaya. Cart, Truck, car with seats on and a drive back when I closed my eyes.
At Bert’s we were back early, but in good time the bus arrived and we could get on with the presentation, if a little late. And the scores were not very good.
In the A Flight, 0 TO 20, The winner was Mark West with 35 points ahead of Mike Allidi in second with 32 points on countback over Richard Kubicki in third. In the B Flight the winner was Silvano Pizzato with 34 points ahead of Jim Ferris in second with 32 points and Don Cameron in third with 29 points.
Then we discussed the Course. My thoughts are that with the lay of the land this must have been a difficult Course to be able to lay out. Many think it is fine and well worth a visit, once. And why not. T.T.F.N.
Near pin Eddie Glinsek Paul Alford Tom Herrington Richard Kubicki
Long Put Mike O’Brien Mike Allidi
Flight Winners with one of Bert’s finest
Tuesday The 4th March 2014: Khao Kheow ( Stableford) This Course is always the first we play every month, for two reasons, first it is a great Course and second, who really needs a second. We are always looked after at K.K and as we go to the Course the attitude of the golfers is ‘Here we go for another great day out’, and it is rare it is not a good day.
This day promised to be a warm one so the players all put their sunscreen on in the changing room and went out to the start. The test for the day was to be the B & C Nines which in many respects is the lesser of the 18 holes to my way of thinking, still a game is a game so off we went.
The B nine lead off straight into the wind, but you always know you have the second and third holes with the wind behind. Except of course the wind always seems to drop when it is behind you. We usually play the yellow tees here, but just for a change we decided to play off the white tees. After playing the Course every month for a long time, and being beaten every time, the thought was that just for once we would like a chance of a walk in the park. Mind, not every one was of the opinion, sometimes it is nice to be the ‘Organiser’.
The wind proved a leveler but it was a pleasure to just be able to go around the Course and not be beaten into the ground. The B Nine was in fine condition and very enjoyable and all who know the Course can sympathise with the odd lost ball in the water. The greens were a little slow however the ball seemed to miss the holes frequently. Such is life. It was soon time to get onto the C Nine, probably my least favourite of the three nines. C1 is always a difficult par 5 as it is usually straight into the wind with water all down the left side and OB down the right. But play it well and you can have a great start to this nine holes. Unfortunately there is water on the left of the pin and as is usual my ball found it. Back to the drawing board.
The round continued and the C Nine proved tough for many people, I think that C8 as a par 3, is as difficult as any around, and so it proved on this day. So it was a windswept group that finally came down the last and went to the changing room for a shower, however it was a pleasure to play a round and not be struggling with the Course all the way around.
I have been trying to make a presentation to the Manager at Khao Kheow, as Chairman of The Royal British Legion Thailand, for some months, but Tuesday is his day off and it is a long drive up there otherwise. The Course always helps me out on ‘Poppy Golf Day’ so I wished to present them with a ‘Certificate Of Appreciation’ from The Royal British Legion Thailand, and on this day caught the Assistant Manageress. I thank them, especially Khun Surapol, The Manager, not only for their help to the Legion, but to ‘Tropical Bert’s Golf Players’. And who am I to destroy the mans day off?.
Soon back at Bert’s we got the results under way. In the A Flight, 0 to 18, we had the perennial winner in first place, yes Mashi won with 39 points. In second was John Hackett with 36 points on countback over Alan Sullivan in third. The scores in the B Flight were a little better and that ‘Old Warhorse’ Dick Warberg’ won with a great 41 points. In second place was Paolo De Grandis who shot his best score ever with 40 points, well done. We then had a countback on 38 points that saw Derek Brook, the Scribe, beat Tom Cotton on handicap. I felt really sorry for Tom but skill must out and also Tom loses too much sleep in his other sport to have the stamina for a full round.
Then as usual we started into the normal stories of how unlucky we were till the bar staff started yawning. Then went home. T.T.F.N.
Near Pin Doug Maiko Tom Herrington Brian Gabe Bob Britton
Long Put AVD Dave Cooper
Derek Brook presents a ‘Thank You’ to Khao Kheow
Winners with one of Bert’s finest, before and after.