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IGA v Chiang Mai 2013

A 28 man Chiang Mai team traveled about 350 miles to Khon Kaen to defend The Cup they took possession of the previous year.  Most drove, some took an airplane, and some of us believe that one special individual tele-ported himself here, although he did arrive a day late, perhaps taking a wrong turn in some worm-hole along the way?

Site: the Isaan province of Khon Kaen,  in northeastern Thailand. 

On Monday evening of November 4th, 7 P.M. at the Kosa Hotel Beer Garden, the Chiang Mai golfers were welcomed by team members of the Isaan Golf Association.  Steve Hoss threw on a keg of beer and necessary introductions were made by Tim Seitz of I. G. A., and by Frank Schwarz, the principal organizer from Chiang Mai.

To get this important deed done, Big Thanks given to Frank Schwarz, Captain of C.M. and Jack Kuzina, Co-Captain

And thanks to 6 Iron Mick Collins for providing over 1/3 of the I.G.A. team from the Khon Kaen golfers (and who once again acted as local “resource person” regarding all possible information about Khon Kaen). Bob Gordon, Terry Aston, and Jungle, who rallied I.G.A. members from Laos, Udon, Nong Kai.  Also a tip of the hat to Steve Hoss, Jack Kuzina, Bob Gordon, and Harvey Cambell for donating barrels of beer, and to several of our I.G.A. guys who donated prizes for the comp.

This year’s prizes were once again excellent and varied, ranging from stays in the Bangkok Novotel, Kosa, and Pullman Hotels, to bottles of Tequila and Gentleman Jack, and of course, to the ever-popular towers of beer.  Thanks to our hotels, the Kosa and the Pullman, and a very sincere thank you to the management and staff of Singha Park Golf Club. The course was in excellent condition, and the greens were consistent and lightning fast.  It is not often that a large mob like ours can play 3 rounds of golf on any course, virtually problem-free.  Well done Sing Park!

Speaking of 3 rounds of golf:  It is an enormous challenge for us every-day average golfers to try to put 3 good rounds of golf together on 3 consecutive days (3 days on the trot…as the English say).  It’s a bitch (as the Americans say).  I was a fine example:  Played like a Star on the first day, started coming apart on the second day but did manage to help my partner, and on the third day, I played like a complete twat (as the Scottish say). 

 

Let’s make the point IN BOLD LETTERS that this year’s event was by far the easiest and most pleasurable to organize, to date.  This was due to a couple of factors:

1.      Having the event in the same place makes it much, much easier to organize. The hotels and the golf course have become ‘well-oiled’ and they know how to cater to our quirky needs.

2.     Having a great bunch of golfers traveling down from Chiang Mai.

3.     Having Frank Schwarz, from C.M., as my counterpart.  His organizational skills before and during the competition made this year by far, the easiest, most pleasurable, and painless year ever. 

4.     Having Steve Hoss taking on all of that annoying, bitchy, nightmarish computer/spread sheet stuff for our Isaan side. What he can do in minutes would take me days.

 

Kick-off for The Event:

6:30 P.m., Monday night’s social welcome:  The meeting of old friends of competitions past, and introductions of golfers new to the comp. Some of the golfers had been present all 9 years. Good friendships have developed over the years, and this year’s participants got on exceptionally well. Tables were mixed with golfers from both sides all during the event.

 A few dedicated golfers had a few beers and went to their beds early to get a good night’s rest, but most did not. Monday night the city of Khon Kaen saw an unusual number of foreigners checking out the varied social scenes on streets both large and small.  Some of those streets and alleys are well lit, and some are not, and probably for good reason.  A few shared their adventures on the following day.  The wise did not.

 

Tuesday morning, at Singha Park Golf Club (A Santaburi Championship Course). 

*Note: Before the golf started, I had the perverse pleasure of sitting down with Khun Panu, the Manager of the golf course, to select all 18 pin placements for our competition.  Let it be known that all pin placements were indeed “legal” but some were indeed, wicked.  Many were the same placements that are used in the Pro Asian Tour Events hosted at Singha Park.  Panu had the course in excellent condition.

The opening day Texas Scramble started off the 3 day event.  It was a Social Day and the teams were evenly mixed with golfers of Chiang Mai and Isaan. Care was taken to equitably distribute handicaps amongst the teams in order for all teams to ‘play off scratch’.  As demonstrated by the results below, the competition was closely contested.

Third Place:        71 – Peter Hutterhampil, Stacy Barnham, Len Sparrow and Peter Hadden

Second Place:     69 – Sean Wilkes, Harrie Sanders, Craig Morriss and Kari Laukkanen

First Place:          68 – Richard Russell, Steve Hoss, Barry Ochitwa and Frank Schwarz

On all three days of the competition, we also had great prizes for ‘closest to the pins’ on all Par 3’s.

 

The first day’s presentation was at the Clubhouse, which always gets rave reviews for its architectural and aesthetic beauty, and for the unusual showers in the locker room.   The over-all professionalism of the staff at Singha Park deserves our thanks. It should be a standard for all Thai golf clubs.   We wish.

Tuesday night saw our eclectic mob spreading out even further over the walking areas of Khon Kaen, and many found a home at The Underground Pub of the Pullman Hotel that has a micro-brewery, an excellent ‘English-singing’ band, and three very good restaurants.  Gallons of locally brewed ‘vitamin B’ were consumed.

 

Wednesday morning, Singha Park Golf Club.  The golfers rallied at the golf course for the beginning of the ‘serious’ part of the competition:  The beginning of two days of match play to determine this year’s ownership of The Cup.  This day’s venue was two man teams:  Best ball match play.  (Note: the most severe 5 pin placements were ‘softened’ on the 2nd day, to speed up play, to reduce the number of 3 putts, and to lessen the moaning of the golfers).

Being in the first group to finish and get settled into the Clubhouse, it was interesting to note a totally different atmosphere as the groups came in off the course, showered, ate, had a few beers and waited for the day’s short presentation after all of the groups finished their rounds.  As they settled into their tables, the talk was all about golf.  It was interesting to hear snippets of the conversations:  Enthusiastic replays of great shots, of the role of ‘luck’ both good and bad.  Of horrible shots, and stories of entire holes being replayed in shot by shot!  “If only I had not missed that damned 2 foot putt!”

At end of the Team Match Play, the Score was:

Isaan:  42 Points                  Chiang Mai:  42 points

How good is that ?

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Night number three found the majority of the golfers eating at one of three favored restaurants:  The Pullman Hotel, DiDines (French name, American owners), and Pomodoro Italian Restaurant. 

For most, the talk was still about golf, and a fair number of the golfers did indeed head back early for a quiet night, and to rest up for the all-important Singles Match play on the morrow.   But not all of us were so dedicated……  For many, it became the night to cash in some of the many beer vouchers and ‘beer-tower prizes’ at the Pullman Underground.  For the more adventurous, it was time to split into smaller groups and do more ‘exploring’.  A few of us had a great laugh when one of our visitors, a bit too loudly (and of course just as the music suddenly stopped), said something about “spanking”.  It wasn’t clear if he was talking about being the ‘spank-er’, or the ‘spank-ee’ ?   

Or could it only have been the punch-line of a joke?   Nah, nobody was buying that.

 

Final Day of Competition, Thursday November 7.  Singles match play. 

Most of the golfers were already at the course at 08:30, for our 09:30 tee times on both the First and 10th Tees.  Players went off in 4-ball groups, and handicaps were matched as closely as possible to avoid the ‘giving of strokes’.

But first, a “one putt” competition on the large and undulating putting green in front of the clubhouse. Everyone had one putt, but In the hole (about 80 feet away) proved impossible.  Closest to the hole won the prize: two towers of micro-brew!  Happily claimed by Geoff Garrett of Chiang Mai.

The groups then began gathering on their assigned tees for their respective tee-times.  The golfers gave their very best efforts, finished their matches, turned in their signed scorecard, ate some lunch and talked ‘golf’, for a few hours at the clubhouse. 

Frank and I decided not to announce the winning team until the evening’s Presentation Ceremony and Buffet Dinner. 

 

Thrusday Night, 6:30 P.M.   Location:  Kosa Beer Garden reserved area, complete with live music and free beer.

Frank and I made the day’s closest to the pin presentations, and gave well deserved thanks to those who donated time, effort, and prizes.

Now it was time for the announcement of the winner of the 9th Annual Isaan/Chiang Mai Challenge Cup, 2013. …but first, a note about The Cup.  It didn’t take a genius to see that our old, tacky, beat up trophy had been replaced by a beautiful very large and shiny New Trophy. 

**A few years ago, C.M. had won one year’s bragging rights and took possession of the original Cup.  During the year ‘the keeper’ (not Frank) had broken one of the two handles off the old cup, but then …get this… instead of having the broken pewter handle soldered back on………… he broke off the other handle to match !!  Hence, the 8 year old cup had become a bit of an embarrassment, so the Chiang Mai guys took it upon themselves to replace the old cup with a new one.

OK, finally cutting finally to the chase:

The New Cup was brought to the stage, and Frank read of f the combined final points tally for the 2013 event.

Isaan:  63  ½  Points             Chiang Mai  62 ½ points

I.G.A.  takes back possession of The Cup by one point !

 

*Final note:  The closeness of the matches was a testament to honest handicapping which allows all contestants on both sides to take a bit of pride in being part of a competition played in the true spirit of the game. The dreaded word “banditry” was never mentioned!

Thank you Chiang Mai !!!    See you next year !!!

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