Conditions were very good for golf over the weekend, with the rainfall on Thursday ensuring the fairways looked fresh and green.
Many players were fresh also, while still adopting the very early and much later split in the field, which certainly helped in the scoring.
On Saturday the men played for the Annual 'Lefties vs Righties' Cup, an Individual Stableford 18-hole Stroke event, sponsored by Steve Grallelis.
The field of 73 were all keen to contribute to 'their side' and prove who was correct. Generally speaking, most players scored very near to their handicap, but there were a couple of outsiders either way of the average.
Alf Davies put his best foot forward in getting the Lefties off to a flying start. From the very first hole, a birdie-two, he was determined to do well.
He finished with 44 points, shooting a par round, to take out Division 1 by a wide margin. Battling behind were two Righties, who both seemed in control of their game.
Eventually, the Runner-up was decided on count back, and going to Phil Duke with 40 points. He edged out Doug Churchill by one point on the back-9.
In Division 2 the scoring was lower but no less frenetic. Garry Collits did very well to overcome a blemish on the 14th hole and finish with 38 points.
Runner-up on 37 points was also decided on count back, with Les Little getting the nod ahead of Dave Rhodes and Denis Culley. This was especially pleasing for Les who scored points on every hole.
The ball sweep went to 36 points: 44 - A Davies 40 - P Duke, D Churchill; 39 - D Bayley; 38 - P Barnes, D McAuliffe, G Collits; 37 - P Maher, L Little, D Rhodes, D Culley; 36 - J Dobell, W Clayton, B Thomas, T Cogswell, S Betland, A Alley, S Uphill, R Webb and R Grayson.
The NTP's went to: ninth - P Maher, 18th - J Betland. The two's again were quite scarce, with only five being scored overall, and none by Division 2 players. Phil 'Sub-Par' Maher managed to get his two, but John missed his in what was an epitome of his day's play - almost but not quite. The 3rd hole remained 'two-less'.
The visitors seemed to enjoy themselves, with Will Clayton (Bowral) scoring 36 points and Matt Donohoe (Royal Sydney) dropping a few good putts in.
The 'Righties vs Lefties' Cup was won by the Righties. Despite an inspired performance by Alf Davies (Leftie), the Righties were too consistent at the top scoring 231 for the top-six as against 226 for the Lefties, and also demolishing the Lefties on the 'equal number of players' score. Notably Steve McAlister ( R) and Jeff Haley (L) tied for the lowest adult score.
Alf Davies was playing inspired golf. His scratch score of 72 came from a 35-37 split. Starting with a two on the first hole, had birdies on the seventh and 15th holes to counter bogies on the second, 12th and 18th holes. If a few putts had dropped he would have had a record score.
Across the board it was pleasing to see many players doing well, and especially those eyeing Pennants performances in a few weeks. Dan Bayley (70), Steve Betland (71) and Peter Barnes did well to feel comfortable in their respective divisions. Also looking good was Jack Dobell who scored 36 points, with a very fine back-nine of 23 points.
Some players seemed to really finding the sweet spot. Both Mike Woods and George Falvey 'smoked' their drives down the 12th, leaving but a flick to the green.
In fact, George was so far out of position that he was unsure what to play, and eventually put his second shot over the back. But he still reasoned that his "new" second-hand driver was worth it.
However, some groups did not seem to 'gel' together. On the sixth, Max Haley sliced his tee shot, striking the trees on the left and finishing in the drain.
Meantime, others in his group were all over the place, with tee shots going right and left among the trees and none on the fairway. This trend continued to the green, where they all congregated at last.
Lachlan Alley seemed to have lost his radar on many occasions, but his ball did not. When Lachlan's shot careened into the trees, the ball managed to strike a tree and rebound onto the fairway. It was probably saying to Lachlan - 'this is where I belong'.
Another to get a sizeable rebound off the trees was Digit. He thumped his drive on the tenth with much vigour. However, the ball hit the trees and rebounded back to beside the 15th green. That made for a longer hole and a long walk backwards. The resulting seven was his only blemish on the card.
The Rule changes in January 2019 allowing for the pin to remain in the hole when putting has had a mixed reception.
Those who follow the PGA Tour on the television will have noticed the different approaches by the Pros there.
One who has mixed feelings is Damien Kennedy. On the 13th he only managed two points, rather than the three expected.
His one-foot tap-in for a five and three points was a bit heavy, with the ball striking the pin, left in the hole, and rebounding to sit on the edge of the hole. He was not pleased to tap in for his six.
The Sunday Stableford Medley was well supported once again with a field of 12 enjoying the conditions. All were well home before the dust storm hit.
The Winner was a visitor from Caragabal, being one of a group of visitors from there. Ross Noble did well to score 37 points, about which he was especially delighted with his run of three-pointers from the seventh onwards. Runner-up was the perennially persistent Warwick Judge, who amassed 36 points.
The ball sweep went to 33 points on count back, wherein Ethel Coombs got the nod ahead of Ray 'Rocket' Taylor. The NTP's, sponsored by GWS, went to: ninth - J Hurkett; 18th - nil.
Julie's two served to give some joy in an otherwise forgettable day. Ethel was not to be outdone and scored a two also.
Here is the news: The two person - two Club Australian Championship scheduled for January 25 has been postponed until February 15. A number of circumstances have required the change, but unfortunately even that did not work.
The sponsor, Marty Cahill, has his nuptials on February 15, for which we wish him all the best. However, he will be unavailable for the presentation, unless he can slip out from the reception.
Teams for the 2020 CWDGA Pennants, which commence on February 2 at Duntryleague, are being organised this week, following the cut-off for handicaps on Sunday, January 19. We wish all participants well.
Captains for each team are: Division 1 S Betland, Division 2 E Gaffney, Division 3 P Barnes and Division 4 S Grallelis. We wish all participants good luck.
Set aside Sunday, April 19 for a three person Ambrose, being run by the Club.
This is a Medley event, with a shotgun start. Cash prizes are on offer and a feed will be provided. This event is being advertised around the District, so get your team together in preparation for nominations when they open.
The 2020 Programme Book will be available soon. A Programme for Feb will be displayed in the Pro Shop. Previously I advised that the 2020 NSW Vets Programme Book would be available, however that is incorrect.
The NSW Vets have stepped into the 20th Century and will not print books but instead have made their programme available on their website. This means that when you are travelling you will need to access the internet or ring a friend.
Murray River trip? A note for all senior golfers who like to travel for a hit a group of local players are in deep conversation about a trip to the Murray River, or more precisely Swan Hill, to play in the Murray Downs Senior Tournament on Tuesday, Wednesday February 25, 26.
In a change from veterans golf seniors competition is for players ages 50 and over, which the Forbes club has plenty who 'can play' the game.
In brief, accommodation needs to be arranged, to compete $90 per players which includes evening dinner, cart hire $45 per day. For more contact Barry Shine, 0409 718 004.
It is crystal ball time: Saturday, January 25 will be an 18-Hole Stableford, with Stableford Medley's on Sunday and Monday, the Australia Day Holiday.
Saturday, February 1 is the Monthly Medal, sponsored by the 'Roadies Group' of club members. Sunday, February 2 is a Stableford Medley, and also the first round of the CWDGA Pennants.