Over the Mayday holiday weekend, ten combatants played for the Spring Stableford on the Friday afternoon. A high standard of golf saw Brian triumph over pain and adversity (and Donald) to take the trophy with 41 points. (Donald also had 41 points off his National handicap, but as the holder, was docked 2 shots). Bob completed the podium with a very creditable 38 points. Donald and Bob beat JDK and Wils for a bottle of wine, and Donald had a 2 at the 16th. Dave attributed his top-ten finish to Donnie not turning up.
Peter and Brian won the Friday morning "Cataclysmic Crescendo" ( a Bob format of course), with Peter, Brian and JDK adding to their wine cellar contents.
Peter headed south on Saturday morning, so 3 x 3 man scramble was the obvious choice. The bookies' favourite team of Donald, Bob and Joe had a comfortable win with a mere 66 shots. Gordon had a 2 at 16.
Pot-hunter Brian then headed south, and the Saturday afternoon format was two fourball matches. Jim and Gordon won a close match 2&1 against Bob and Ewan, and Joe single-handedly destroyed Donald and Wils by 5&4. Bob had a 2 at the 8th. Gordon and Ewan picked up the minor prizes, just enough to tempt them into a winners' round.
Sunday morning and the team was down to six. A Ted Rogers 3-2-1 format saw Gordon, Bob and Dave having to dig deep into their pockets to buy lunch and drinks for the 1-shot victors Ewan, Donald and Joe.
In true Grantown style, the weather was fine (if a little cool and breezy) all weekend until we stepped off the course on Sunday lunchtime, at which time it poured down - just as well for the UCTs that these Barbour jackets are waterproof!
Good accommodation, decent weather, fine meals, sufficient drinks and a liberal helping of talking rubbish made for a splendid weekend.
With excuses ranging from "sore pinkies" to "just come back from holiday", a small but determined band of five took to the Grantown fairways at 9am on Friday 5th August. Grey skies and a strong threat of rain did not dampen the enthusiasm as we embarked on a Bob Millar special format, the Large Liqueurs after Lunch accumulator; Stableford points x1 for the first 6, x2 for the second 6 and x3 for the final 6. With a splendid gross score of 70 (38-32), it was not surprising that Gordon took the spoils with a total of 85 points, and managed to confound the treasurer by making a modest profit from his winnings once the LLaLs had been purchased. JDK did pretty well to take Gordon to the 18th before surrendering the ubiquitous bottle of red. DJL had a 2 (at the 9th!).
The afternoon round was reserved for the Seniors, with Gordon retaining his fine form by edging out Bob with 39 points to 38 - Bob's handicap had been docked by 2, courtesy of being the holder. Bob got a minor consolation by winning the afternoon format (double Stableford points on pre-selected odd or even holes) with 60 points. No 2s.
A bar meal following by an "interesting" musical evening in the Seafield, accompanied by multiple winners' rounds brought Friday to a close.
Saturday morning saw pot hunter Ian Wilson escape from family duties and arrive fresh for the Grantown Open and everyone's favourite format of stroke play! Joe and Bob shared the best net back 9 and won 3 Loco golf balls each (courtesy of Baberton Visitors Day raffle). Joe had a 2 at the 16th.
Reasonable scoring resulted in a spread of just seven shots heading into the afternoon round - would someone from the duffers' three surge forward to take the trophy? No!
Bob, despite being cut by another two shots for being the Open holder, carded a fine net 66 for a 4 under par total of 136 to win by 5 shots from Gordon, with JDK completing the podium, a couple of shots further behind. Joe did not have the best nine holes of his life and uncharacteristically NR'd at the 10th, allegedly to give his playing partners a fighting chance! JDK recorded the best loop with a highly creditable net 16 shots, and Gordon hit the most greens in 1 (three). Ian and JDK both had 2s at the 16th with Jim's touching the flagstick before coming to rest a mere 18 inches past - could have been expensive!
Bob becomes only the third player to successfully defend the Grantown Open, and the first since 1984/85 when Peter completed the double immediately after Donnie had done the same in 1982/83. Check out the results page.
A trip to the Indian restaurant on Saturday evening followed by some reasonable musical entertainment in the Ben Mhor rounded off a fine Grantown Open. The sale of the big golf bag for £75 helped ease the financial burden.
Sunday morning dawned early, and with the lure of captaining a winning Scramble team, Ian was given special dispensation to stay on! Honours were even on 68 shots each for Ian, Joe & Gordon against Bob, Jim & Dave. Joe and Gordon both recorded 2s at the 16th.
Despite some fairly mediocre weather, a fine weekend was had by the small but select squad.
Overseas Tour - September
GGS OVERSEAS TOUR No. 6
TENERIFE - 16th TO 23rd SEPTEMBER 2005
Friday 16th September, Edinburgh–Tenerife MON5904 - 07:00 – 11:50
Friday 23rd September, Tenerife–Edinburgh MON5905 - 12:50 – 17:15
Drivers: Tenerife Airport to Villas, Ian and Dave. Other Drivers: Bob & Gordon.
ACCOMMODATION - Las Adelfas, Golf del Sur, 2 x 2-bedroom villas
Villa 1: Dave & Donald, Ewan & Gordon
Villa 2: Bob & Ian, Joe & Jim
OFFICIAL DUTIES -
Dave: main driver, archivist Donald: joint entertainments officer
Ewan: navigator, assistant check-in clerk Gordon: director of golf, back-up driver
Jim: el tesorer, navigator, accommodation Joe: joint entertainments officer, music
Bob: back-up driver, team psychologist Ian main driver (at least)
GOLF HANDICAPS - The tried and tested “Donald” system was in use for all competitions except the Masters and the Scramble. As usual, players go up 1 shot for every full 2 points scored under 36 points, and are cut 1 shot for every full 2 points scored above 36 points.
e.g. Handicap 12, score of 31 points, next day handicap 14.
Handicap 12, score of 41 points, next day handicap 10.
After a much heralded success last year (who remembers?!), “El Tesorer`s Cut” was in play again - increases in handicap cost you euros! For increases of 1 to 5 shots each shot costs you 1 euro, the next 5 shots (6 to 10) cost you 2 euros per shot, and each shot over 10 costs 3 euros. Euros collected went into a special Prize Fund.
TWOs - €5
HOLE-IN-ONE - €30
additional information on all the courses,
All–week competition – a Room at the Top
Formula 1-style points awarded to each player depending on where they finish each day (10 points for 1st, 8 for 2nd, 6 for 3rd,5 for 4th, 4 for 5th, 3 for 6th, 2 for 7th and 1 for 8th).
€35, for the express purpose of buying pre-dinner drinks on the final night, awarded to the room-mates with the highest total.
After pre-dinner drinks in the "Kronenburg" Bar (now selling Fosters), a light dinner of Tapas followed by a visit to the Wild Geese to see Campbell performing closed off a busy day.
Golf del Sur is an absolute must for the discerning golfer. It consists of three loops of 9 holes running close to the sea, which can be played in any combination. There are large lush greens and the wide fairways are dotted with black sand bunkers, palm trees and giant cacti. The course has hosted several PGA European Tour events, with victories by Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark James and David Gilford. If you want to follow in their footsteps, make sure you play straight on the North loop's impressive 3rd hole, which is framed by water and a gaping black bunker.
North/South: Par 72; Length 6422 yards
North/Links: Par 72; Length 6002 yards
Links/South: Par 71; Length 6050 yards
Individual Stableford played in house groups:
Group 1: Dave, Donald, Ewan & Gordon
Group 2: Bob, Ian, Joe & Jim
Prizes: 1st €30 2nd €20
Also, the first round of the “In Da House” Challenge, an eclectic Stableford over the two rounds at Golf del Sur, played in house teams off Donalds with all team members counting!
Would Tenerife be far enough south for Gordon to beat his southern European blues? It certainly would with 35 points ensuring first prize of €30, and no handicap cut for the following day. Bob picked up €20 for second place with 31 points, and with scores reaching down to 20 points, El Tesorer`s cut benefited by a healthy €41, with Dave and Ian slipping into the high tax bracket with a donation of €11 each. Plenty of scope for most to improve on their eclectic score during the return to Golf del Sur on Thursday.
The first of the virtual wines were decided with Gordon & Ewan trouncing Donald & Dave by 8 & 6, and a much closer match saw Bob & Ian finish 2 up against Joe & Jim.
Gordon & Ewan took an early lead in the Room at the Top challenge,
Dinner in the Lobster Pot in San Blas.
The design of Golf Costa Adeje makes excellent use of the natural terrain of the area. The course is crossed at intervals by the step-like stone walls of a former banana plantation. There are spectacular views over the island of La Gomera, the sea and the mountain range of Adeje. The greens are generally large and the course is characterised by several doglegs. Interestingly, it has equal numbers of par 3s, par 4s and par 5s. This was the venue for the 2003 Spanish Open and is a top class layout in a lovely location. Highly recommended.
Length: 6960 yards
Format - The Adeje 666 – Heaven and Hell Challenge © R.B. Millar
Streak 1: Holes 2, 5, 7, 10, 14 & 16 (Par 3s)
Streak 2: Holes 4, 6, 9, 12, 15 & 17 (Par 4s)
Streak 3: Holes 1, 3, 8, 11, 13 & 18 (Par 5s)
Score 1 or more point at the first hole of a streak and go to Heaven; (if 0 or N/R, go to Hell).
At the next hole in that streak, if you score equal or better than the previous hole (in that streak), you stay in Heaven and collect a bonus point; (score less and go to Hell).
When in Hell, you need 2 or more points at a hole to go to Heaven
Group 1: Donald, Jim, Ewan & Bob
Group 2: Dave, Joe, Gordon & Ian
Prizes: €15 for each streak winner (maximum of one prize per player)
Given the complexity of the format, Bob was entrusted to calculate the streak winners who were as follows:
Par 3s Ian with 15 points
Par 4s Bob with 13 points
Par 5s Jim with 19 points
each winning €15, which proved totally inadequate to buy a winner's round, but didn't prevent them being demanded by the thirsty losers!
JDK had one of his best overseas tour rounds with 41 points, but with no overall prize, had only a handicap cut to show for it. Everyone else managed to make further contributions to El Tesorer, albeit with a more modest €26. Gordon's fine tour start took a slight dent, but compensated with a two and nearest the hole at the 16th.
In the matchplays, Gordon & Ian beat Dave & Joe by 2 & 1, and Jim and Bob trounced Ewan & Donald by 7 & 5, reportedly JDK's first ever matchplay success overseas!
In the Room at the Top challenge, Bob & Ian opened up a narrow lead over Jim & Joe.
Back to Los Abrigos (by taxi!) for an excellent meal in the Ben Como restaurant, followed by some very generous measures of Cointreau.
DAY 3, MONDAY 19th, Golf Las Americas, First tee-off time 11:00 THE MASTERS
Golf las Americas is situated in a gently sloping natural amphitheatre with commanding views towards the sea and Playa De Las Americas. It's sheltered from the wind by a range of hills and features streams, ravines and the remains of some curious aboriginal cabins. The course provides a good test of golf, with water coming into play on no less than 8 holes. A little expensive compared to what's on offer elsewhere on the island, but definitely worth a visit.
Length: 6640 yards
Format - The 2005 Masters, Stableford played off National handicaps, except for Ewan (Masters holder) and Bob (Open holder), each of whom are cut by 2.
Group 1: Ewan, Dave, Ian & Jim,
Group 2: Joe, Donald, Gordon & Bob
Prizes: 1st €50 2nd €30 3rd €20
After a fine breakfast on the splendid Golf las Americas terrace, the overseas contender to the GGS majors calendar was off and running. Some highly respectable scoring saw Donald Murray win his first Masters with a commendable 35 points off his national handicap. Current Open champion Bob was second on 32 points, and Ewan put in a fine defence of his Masters' crown for third on 30 points.
In the team event (Holes 1-6: best score; Holes 7-12: best 2 scores; Holes 13-17: best 3 scores; Hole 18: all 4 scores), the scores were tied at 93 all, but Ewan, Dave, Ian & Jim beat Joe, Donald, Gordon & Bob on a countback of better inward (or was it outward?) half. €10 to each member for sundowners in the Kronenburg Bar.
Joe had a 2 at the 13th, and Dave was nearest the pin at the 17th.
Very close matchplays saw Ian & Ewan beating Jim & Dave, (1 up), and Joe & Donald beating Gordon & Bob by the same score.
The Donalds handicap system had clearly done its job, with a mere €4 being contributed to El Tesorer.
In the Room at the Top challenge, Dave & Donald sneaked through the field to tie Bob & Ian at the head of the field.
Dinner in an Italian restaurant in Golf del Sur (accompanied by the barely alive Joe Vidar) followed by a further visit to the Wild Geese, to join in with Campbell's sing-along. Bob bought a Rolex!
DAY 4, TUESDAY 20th - DAY OFF
Mid-morning trip into San Blas followed by a magnificent lunch in a very fine Spanish restaurant in San Miguel, up in the hills overlooking Golf del Sur.
An evening visit into Las Americas for some very mediocre dinner and a trip to the casino where Joe, Gordon and Dave recorded some successes.
A drive to the North West tip of the island is required to reach Buenavista, but don't let it put you off - the drive itself is breathtaking and the course is a stunning new Seve Ballesteros design. Interestingly, it has equal numbers of par 3s, par 4s and par 5s. There are lots of strategically placed sand and water hazards to negotiate and the par 3s are particularly memorable. The course is located very near the sea so on some of the holes it feels like you're actually hitting into the ocean! A great course with some great views.
Length: 6845 yards
Format – return of the 2-man scramble with your neighbour
Group 1: Gordon & Joe; Jim & Ewan,
Group 2: Bob & Donald; Ian & Dave
No handicaps, 7 drives each, unlimited putting!
Prizes: €20 each to the winning teamThe lengthy drive up to Buenavista, punctuated by a short stop in Masca, was deemed well worthwhile when the team arrived at the magnificent clubhouse and golf course, the latter only slightly spoiled by the greens having been hollow-tined recently.
A close competition saw Ian & Dave triumph on 31 points from Bob & Donald on 29, with the others just behind on 26.
Ian and Gordon were nearest the hole at the 12th and 17th respectively, and Dave had a 2 at the 15th.
Both matches finished all square, and there was no change in the Room at the Top challenge, with Bob/Ian and Donald/Dave locked at 48 points all going into the final day.
Back to Golf del
Sur round the east coast of the island for a fine dinner at our local
restaurant, La Cava, followed by a short walk to Grandee O'Donnell's for a
further dose of Campbell, and a late-night shut-in in the adjoining "Smug Bar".
and photographs of these events can be found by following this link:
DAY 6, THURSDAY 22nd Golf del Sur (North & South courses), First tee-off time 10.26
Format – The Final Showdown, the Golf del Sur Individual Stableford
Group 1: Bob, Ian, Joe & Jim
Group 2: Dave, Donald, Ewan & Gordon
Prizes: 1st €30 2nd €20
Also, the second round of the “In Da House” Challenge eclectic.
Prizes: The losing house pays for the final night dinner; the winning house pays for “large ones” with coffee – Joe’s challenge is to make both prizes the same value (grey shirt required!)
Either Gordon's charm, or Golf del Sur's guilt over the booking time mix-up, secured four free buggies for the final GGS assault on Tenerife's golf courses.
Gordon proved that his earlier 35 points there were no fluke when he carded a magnificent one-over-par 73 containing one eagle and four birdies (including a 2). This equated to 48 Stableford points (off his Donald), which immediately instigated an enquiry into where an extra two points might have been scored. Dave was second on 41 points, and Jim won €15 for the best run of four consecutive holes.
The "In Da House" eclectic was won comfortably by Villa 201 (Dave, Donald, Ewan & Gordon) on 176 points from Villa 202 (Bob, Ian, Joe & Jim) on 162.
An uncharacteristic collapse by Bob allowed Donald & Dave to carry off the 'Room at the Top' prize, which was not nearly enough money to buy the final sundowners at the Kronenburg Bar.
The remainder of the El Tesorer`s Cut purse of €21 went to Ewan for nearest the hole
Matchplay results saw Gordon & Ewan defeat Donald & Dave (4 & 2), and Joe & Ian just edging out Jim & Bob (1 up). Big winner on the wine stakes was Ian on +4, and the big loser was Dave on -4. What a shame Ian won't be there when they are distributed/consumed!
Back to Ben Como restaurant in Los Abrigos for another excellent dinner, and equally excellent liqueurs.
DAY 7, FRIDAY 23rd , Travel
Into San Blas for breakfast and final shopping. The "In Da House" prize was settled with breakfast being hosted by Villa 202.
A reasonable journey home to a breezy and rather cool Edinburgh rounded off the sixth overseas GGS tour - where to in 2006??