On Friday 21st April, a breakfast party of eight braved slightly cool and breezy weather on the beach, before the sun broke through, right on cue, at the very friendly tee-off time of 11:00. A gentle start of two fourballs saw Gordon & Joe beat Dave & Bob by 1-up, and Brian & Jim defeat Donnie & Peter 2 & 1. Donald arrived at lunchtime (via the tourist route from Fort William), and a 3-man scramble ended up all square with no prizes being awarded. Donald, Jim & Bob actually recorded a fine 62, but as Ewan had joined then at the 6th,they were docked just one shot to tie with Peter/Joe/Dave and Brian/Gordon/Donnie on 63. Donald had a 2 at the 16th.
After a quick wash and brush up in the Seafield, it was off to the Indian for a reasonable curry.
Saturday was rather cold and very windy but dry. The Spring Stableford was played over 36 holes with Bob trouncing the opposition by 8 points with a total of 77 (35/42), with Gordon, Donald and Ewan sharing the runners-up spot on 69. Gordon & Dave beat Jim & Donnie 6 & 4 in the morning fourball. Saturday afternoon wouldn't be the same without a Bob-special format, and a "reverse Las Vegas" in room teams saw Donnie and Bob come out on top with 509 points. Pete & Dave just shaded Gordon & Donald 2 & 1 in a matchplay, and a skins game in one of the threeballs saw Brian win 8 from Donnie on 6 and Joe on 3. Lots of 2s: Bob a the 8th (twice), Gordon at the 1st and Dave at the 16th. Gordon also had an eagle 3 at the 6th.
A quiet night in at the Seafield for a fine meal in the bar, followed by copious winners rounds, ably served by Chris the French/Polish barman.
Sunday dawned bright and breezy and remained dry. A Mickey Mouse multiplier resulted in Donald, Donnie and Ewan beating Bob, Joe & Jim by 13 shots. Dave, Brian and Gordon paid the penalty of poor golf (including losing Mickey!) by having to finance lunch for the assembled masses. Loads more 2s - Ewan, Brian and Donald at the 16th (Donald's from 1 inch), and Dave with a chip in at the 11th.
Five dry rounds and some fine golf, food and drink saw the GGS 2006 season off to an excellent start.
The summer trip to Grantown took place over the weekend of 4th to 6th August, when a full squad of eleven were there for the main events, with the Seniors and the Grantown Open up for grabs. After a few early starts got in some sneaky practice on the Thursday, a preliminary Stableford was held on Friday morning. Joe won with a fine 42 points from Ewan on 39, with Gordon and Ian making up the podium on 38. The wine exchange started with Joe & Brian seeing off Jim & Ewan (2up), and Gordon and Ian beat Bob & Peter 2&1.
The Seniors was held on Friday afternoon over 18 holes of Stableford. Scoring was very hot, with new boy Dave not making the top ten with a score of 36 points, and Bob not reaching the podium with a very creditable 44 points! Ewan took top honours with 46 points (gross 71), with Ian and Peter just off the pace on 45. In the matchplays, Ian & Peter beat Brian & Dave 5&4, and Bob & Joe beat Donald & Jim 3&2. Donnie also increased his wine cellar with a skins win against Ewan and Gordon.
Ewan had a two at the first, and Ian went one better by holing his wedge approach at the 4th, followed by a shorter conversion with his putter at the 16th. Lots of potential for winners' rounds!
In a new venture for the minor prizes, Brian was nearest the 16th (but missed the put), Ewan was nearest the 17th in two and Donnie was nearest the 18th in two. Rather than awarding a paltry fiver that would be no use for buying a round, each player won an entry into a draw for £50 that would cover the equivalent nearest the holes on Saturday, plus Joe for winning the Stableford on Friday morning.
The Grantown Open
After a heated and totally irrational debate on Friday night, the Grantown Open remained as 36 holes of strokeplay over Saturday. The fine scoring from the Friday afternoon could not quite continue on the Saturday morning, due partly to the strokeplay format and partly to the fact it was Saturday morning after a Friday night, but a tight finish was assured with only one shot separating the first six players at lunchtime. In the morning matchplays, Dave & Ian beat Gordon & Joe by 3&2, and Donald & Donnie beat Peter and Jim by the same score. Bob, Dave and Donald each got a 2 at the 16th. Bob was nearest the 16th and 17th, and Donald was nearest the 18th for their places in the "in it to win it" draw.
The Grantown lunch worked its usual magic, and the scores tumbled in the afternoon. Dave carded a career-best gross 72 (net 57) to win his third Grantown Open on 126 from Ewan on 133 and Bob on 134, (playing off 10 as punishment for his previous two years' success). JDK achieved his lunchtime target by forcing his way into the top ten (at the expense of Donnie), but his score wasn't good enough to avoid losing yet another bottle of wine in the skins game to cement his rôle as leading wine supplier to the GGS tour. Donnie triumphed again in the skins to take his wine tally up to five for the weekend. Bob & Dave trounced a shell-shocked Brian & Donald by 8&7, whilst Joe & Gordon finished all square with Ian & Ewan. Bob recorded the best afternoon Stableford round (45 points), and Ewan had the best last six with an incredible 19 shots. Dave got a 2 at the 8th, with Ewan and Joe holing out at the 16th. Ewan won two more entries for the grand draw, be being nearest the hole at 16 and 18, with Brian getting nearest the 17th.
The presentation of the Grantown Open cup was slightly devalued (by the lack of a cup), but Bob made up for his memory lapse by dispensing glasses of bubbly. An exciting draw in the Indian restaurant resulted in the favourite Ewan picking the £50 prize and as usual, the prize money (plus a bit more) was ploughed back into the Grantown economy.
With the team whittled down to nine, a friendly 3-man scramble was held, with Gordon, Joe & Brian taking the glory with an excellent 62 from Ian, Donald & Jim and Bob, Ewan & Donnie on 66. 2s for Ian at the 11th and Gordon at the 16th.
In summary, an excellent weekend of fine weather, good food, sufficient refreshment and above all, very low scoring golf (rounded off by Hearts beating Celtic!).
GGS OVERSEAS TOUR No. 7
Algarve - 3rd to 10th October 2006
Tuesday 3rd October, Edinburgh–Faro GSM505 - 08:00 – 11:30
Tuesday 10th October, Faro–Edinburgh GSM506 - 12:15 – 15:45
Minibus transfers between airport and accommodation.
ACCOMMODATION - Vial Sol, 1 x 3-bedroom apartment
Room 1: Dave & Gordon – first choice
Room 2: Bob & Ian – second choice
Room 3: Joe & Jim – third choice
OFFICIAL DUTIES -
Dave: archivist Gordon: golf gruppenfuhrer
Jim: treasurer Joe: restaurant & bar supremo, music
Bob: transportation & logistics Ian restaurant & bar assistant
GOLF HANDICAPS - The tried and tested “Donald” system will be in use for all competitions except the Masters and the Scramble. As usual, players will go up 1 shot for every full 2 points scored under 36 points, and will be 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?!), the “Treasurer’s Cut” will be in play again - increases in handicap will 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 will cost 3 euros. Euros collected will go into the Prize Fund.
TWOs - €5
HOLE-IN-ONE - €30
With the hotel transport system working very efficiently, the team was quickly settled into the splendid apartment, and back down to the Vila Sol clubhouse for lunch and a recce. An early consultation between the GGS Gruppenfuhrer and the Vila Sol management highlighted a minor problem in that because the course was so busy, we would be playing as a four and a two, with another two unsuspecting souls making up the other two. A quick re-arrangement of the groupings and formats was done, and boys were ready to re-acquaint themselves with the sights and delights of Vilamoura, via the hotel courtesy bus. Joe, with a little assistance from Ian, found a fine restaurant, with promises of better to come over the week.
Group 1: Bob, Ian, Jim & Dave
Group 2: Joe & Gordon + the Coopers (Tommy and Alice)
Prizes: 1st €30 2nd €20
Also, the first round of the Rooms Challenge, a week-long event with all rounds except the scramble counting towards lunch at Room in the Town at a later date – more details follow.
Bob quickly set the pace with 35 points for €30, with Dave a few shots off the pace on 31 points for €20. No 2s recorded, but the revised groupings allowed unofficial matchplays for bottles of wine, much to JDK's delight, as he and Bob lost narrowly to Ian and Dave (1-up), and Joe beat Gordon by 2&1. The Rooms Challenge saw Ian and Bob take a commanding lead that would prove hard to beat.
With scoring reaching down to the low twenties, the treasurer's cut was quickly solvent to the tune of €25.
Millennium Course Description
Martin Hawtree has extended his original concept of the original 27 Holes by adding another 9 and created and creating two distinctive courses. These new holes are part of the Millennium Course and wander amongst the parkland of pine trees that are often found on the coast in the Algarve. The course is a pleasure to play with subtle but few very tricky situations except for possibly the par-3 sixth with its lake on the left of the fairway waiting for erring balls
Format - The Millennium Multiplier - holes 1-6 standard points, holes 7-12 double points, holes 13-18 triple points. Played with non-hidden partners, total Stableford points off Donalds
Revised Groupings were: Jim & Joe, Gordon & Dave Bob& Ian (+ a hot German and his son)
Prizes: €25 each for the winning pair
Jim and Joe destroyed the opposition with 129 points from Dave and Gordon on 115 and Bob & Ian on 109. JDK's hot form was not quite hot enough to avoid narrowly losing a matchplay wine, with Dave, against Joe and Gordon by 1-up. Bob and Ian think they were all square! Bob recorded the first two of the tour, and, the treasurer pocketed a further €19, with everyone contributing except himself. Very even on the Rooms challenge, which meant that Bob & Ian kept their comfortable lead.
DAY 3, FRIDAY 6th, Vila Sol, First tee-off time 08:50, The Mad Scramble
Three Two man scramble with standard GGS rules – minimum of
five seven drives each, and
only one player takes second putt – no handicaps applied
Group 1: Gordon & Jim, Ian & Joe
Group 2: Bob & Dave (+ a poser ex-pat Scot and his son)
Prizes: Winning pair get lunch (solid & wet) bought for them by the other four on the day
Very close scoring saw Gordon &Jim take the spoils on 32 points from Bob & Dave on 31, with Ian and Joe completing the podium on 31. The lunch bill was converted to €35 each for Gordon & Jim for the purpose of the money charts. A slight slip by Bob and Ian on the rooms challenge but they still held a 7-point lead.
No 2's, handicap adjustments or wine matchplays, but the money charts were livened up a bit by introducing a new "Miscellaneous" category to capture casino gains, a bet on how many times some 'posery' girls would walk up the smart street in Faro, and €4 for Bob for something to do with a music bet (we think).
DAY 4, SATURDAY 7th - DAY OFF
Jim, Joe, Gordon & Dave decided to take a trip into Faro, then a bird-watching boat trip along the shore, while Bob and Ian elected for a trip to the hotel's beach club. The group re-assembled in Vilamoura to watch Scotland stuff the French in the Euro-2008 qualifier before returning back to the apartment with a very reasonable Indian takeaway.
Format – serious brunch followed by the 2006 Masters played off National Handicaps (except for Dave who will probably be docked two shots courtesy of his win in the 2006 Grantown Open)
Group 1: Dave, Gordon, Bob & Ian
Group 2: Joe & Jim
Prizes: Champion €50
Back to the shock of National handicaps for the 2006 overseas major, but with the comfort of using Donalds for the ancillary events! A very close finish saw Dave on 33 points just edge out Gordon by 1 point, to take his third Masters, all of them overseas! Dave and Bob shared the Vila Sol eclectic prize on 43 points for €15 each, and Gordon and Bob each had a 2 for €25 each unofficial money.
Dave and Gordon's fine scoring saw them sneak one point ahead of the week-long leaders, Bob & Ian in the rooms challenge. Very finely poised for the final round tomorrow! A modest €9 for the treasurer due to handicap adjustments. Dave & Ian beat Bob & Gordon by 1-up
DAY 6, MONDAY 9th Vilamoura Old Course, First tee-off time 09.30
Old Course Description
This is the second oldest golf course in the Algarve. Set in an umbrella pinewood and laid out in an interesting way to take advantage of the natural contours. It is from the English school of Course design. The first Holes are easy and inviting with reachable par-4s. The par-3 on the attractive fourth is a Hole in One potential. Club selection from here will play an important part of your game, and straight shots will be needed. The ninth is an excellent example of this situation. The back nine has three interesting par-5s. The sixteenth providing a 522 metre challenge for good length and straight hitting
Format – The Last Chance Saloon or “Donalds Denouement”
Individual Stableford off Donalds, plus one bonus point for each of the following:
Group 1: Bob, Dave & Jim
Group 2: Gordon, Joe & Ian
Prizes: 1st €30 2nd €20
Very nice to return to the Old Course, which was in splendid condition, and we were allowed to play in threes for the first time!
This format clearly suited Bob & Ian who shared the spoils on 55 points (39 + 16 bonus points for Bob, and 38 + 17 for Ian). Needless to say, that gave them an unassailable 10-point winning margin in the rooms challenge to guarantee them a free lunch at the Room in the Town.
No 2's or wine matchplays, but the "official" wine challenge, played over the back nines from the last two days, was decided with Dave narrowly defeating Jim for top prize - see below for how the wine is to be distributed!
excellent tour rounded off by a first class meal in Vilamoura
makes you wonder why there was only six of us!
Total Stableford points of both room-mates for all days except the scramble – Donalds on days 1, 2 & 6, Nationals on Day 5 (Masters)
The prize will be a lunch at Room in the Town financed as follows:
3rd place – buy the food - Joe & Jim
2nd place – bring the wine (and pay corkage) - Gordon & Dave
1st place – enjoy the hospitality - Bob & Ian
Individual eclectic Stableford off Nationals from Days 1 and 5 at Vila Sol.
Winner gets €30 - Bob and Dave shared
1st: Dave (6 bottles gross, net 4)
2nd: Jim (4 bottles gross, net 2)
3rd Ian (2 bottles gross, net 0)
Vilamoura Old Course
The Old Course Tips
1st Hole 302 metres - Par
Stroke 1) Open your round with a 3-Wood, hitting slightly to the right side of the fairway. As
there is a gentle downhill slope your ball will have the advantage of the roll depending on the
condition of the ground.
(Stroke 2) Use a Wedge to take you up to the pin that still lies below.
2nd Hole 430 metres - Par 5
(Stroke 1) As the hole is gently uphill use a Driver off the tee and aim for the right side of the
(Stroke 2) A 3-Wood will bring you a little short of the green. When lining up for the stroke
aim lightly to the left of the green.
(Stroke 3) A Pitching Wedge will place you close to the hole whilst too much firmness in the
shot will be compensated by the ridge lining the back of the green.
3rd Hole 319 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) Use a 3-Wood aiming to the right side of the fairway towards the protruding group
(Stroke 2) A firm 6-Iron will place you on the green.
4th Hole 158 metres - Par 3
(Stroke 1) This challenging par-3 hole requires a 5-Iron. To carry the water aim to the left of
the pine tree that is in your line with you and the green. The accuracy and distance are all
important as a bunker lies across its entrance.
5th Hole 449 metres - Par 5
(Stroke1) This par-5 hole leading back to the clubhouse requires a firm Driver off the tee
straight up the fairway and avoiding the far right side as it is "Out of Bounds".
(Stroke 2) Use a 5-Wood and try not to land short on the left side as this position will leave
you with a very challenging next shot.
(Stroke 3) A Pitching Wedge will take you up to the hole.
6th Hole 196 metres - Par 3
(Stroke 1) For this par-3 hole that lies invitingly below you a 3-Iron is recommended. Avoid
the right side of the green due to the slope.
7th Hole 344 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) A Driver will place you well up and aim for the left side of the fairway to be in a
good position for the next shot.
(Stroke 2) Use a 7-Iron and aim for the left side of the centre of the green as there is slope to
8th Hole 414 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) The Driver will place you well up in the fairway on this par-4 dogleg. Ideally, aim
slightly to the right side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) A 3-Iron to the left of the centre of the green should be the correct approach shot to
this gentle uphill slope.
9th Hole 260 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) Use a 5-Wood aiming to the left of the bunker on the right side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) Select a 9-Iron and aim to the left of centre of the green taking into consideration
the position of the flag.
10th Hole 148 metres - Par 3
(Stroke 1) This challenging par-3 hole requires a 5-Iron basically to the centre of the green.
Club selection and quality of shot is imperative as there is lots of trouble on all sides of the
11th Hole 371 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) A 3-Wood aimed straight between the two fairway bunkers will place you well for
the approach shot. The landing area is narrow due to these bunkers.
(Stroke 2) Use a 4-Iron to take you to the left of the centre of the green.
12th Hole 482 metres - Par 5
(Stroke 1) In order to play this par-5 dogleg you need a good drive off the tee with a Driver.
Aim to cut the trees and the protruding bank on the right side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) As it is uphill from here you will need a firm 5-Wood avoiding the bunker on the
(Stroke 3) Select an 8-Iron and aim to the middle of the green.
13th Hole 342 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) As this is a dogleg to the right use a 5-Wood to take you over the trees protruding
on the right side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) The 6-Iron will take you to the centre of the green and as near to the pin as
14th Hole 436 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) This hole is a dogleg to the left and requires a straight drive with a Driver aimed
between the two bunkers on the fairway.
(Stroke 2) A 3-Wood should bring you to a position that is a little short of the green.
(Stroke 3) Use a Pitching Wedge to lift you up and on to the green.
15th Hole 145 metres - Par 3
(Stroke 1) The hole can be deceptive as the green is very short in length so club selection is
very important - suggest a 6-Iron, depending on the prevailing wind.
16th Hole 504 metres - Par 5
(Stroke 1) This hole is the longest par-5 on the course with a curving dogleg to the right. Use
your Driver to carry the trees on the right hand side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) Use a 5-Wood to carry a further group of pine trees again on the same right hand
(Stroke 3) With a 9-Iron let your shot avoid the actual bunker in front to the left but placing
the ball somewhere close. With this position you will have a clear shot towards the green.
17th Hole 348 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) Use your Driver and avoid the bunkers on each side of the fairway.
(Stroke 2) A 4-Iron should take you to the middle of the generous green.
18th Hole 340 metres - Par 4
(Stroke 1) As this is an open fairway a straight shot with a 3-Wood to the middle will achieve
the ideal position.
(Stroke 2) Use a 7-Iron to pitch you onto the green followed by a good putt that will take you
back into the clubhouse for a rewarding drink!
Vilamoura Old Course
Vilamoura Old Course