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Greencard Golf Holidays 4 Hillcroft, Anchor Road, Calne SN11 8HR Tel:

0870

300

0880

The

Golfer

V o l u m e

2 ,

I s s u e

2

J u n e

BRIAN HOLDS OFF BILLY COUPE

In This Issue

who shot a tremendous 40 points. It would prove to be the best score of the week and enable him to hold top spot at the half way mark by 2 points from Sue Mawhinney, who enjoyed another strong round with 38 points. Dave Simpson was in third place just 3 shots off the lead.

Turkey Formosa Park Researching Malaysia Looking Forward to 2011 Smashie & Nicey Thailand in Turmoil Grand Finals Vila Sol

Bill Coupe, Brain Haynes, Su Mawhinney & Dave Simpson in Turkey

The Gloria Golf Resort has become a regular fixture in the Greencard Tour calendar. Contents Turkey Cont.

2

& Tour Points Formosa Park

3

Researching in Malaysia

4,5

The Year so Far

6

Toffs on Top

7

Thailand in Turmoil

8

Looking Ahead to 9 2011 Grand Finals Vila Sol

2 0 1 0

9

We are constantly looking for new venues but the Gloria ticks all the boxes in terms of the golf, accommodation and overall relaxed atmosphere. This year was no different and with blue skies and temperatures reaching into the 30's, it proved to be a fantastic week. The golf programme whilst staying at the Gloria includes two rounds on each of their courses and one round on an additional course. In the past we have used the Nobilis, located opposite the hotel, and the National. However, on the free day in 2009 a few of us tried to the new Carya course and were hugely impressed, thus it became the third course in the 2010 event. The week began with the usual Am-Am on the Gloria Old course. The course was again in great shape and, as those who have ventured to these parts before know, a great test of golf with accuracy from the tee avoiding the fir trees abso-

lutely key to achieving a good score.

The free day allowed people to play some more golf on one of the many surrounding championship courses, visit the local town of Belek or simply enjoy the Gloria's wonderful swimming pools, gardens and private beach. In addition the entertainment offered by the hotel in the evenings was wonderful with garden parties and a version of the Riverdance in the superb new amphitheatre just two of the events on offer during the week.

The event was won convincingly by the team led by Karl Dixon and including David Savory and Gail Hegarty with a score of 78. The For the third round we moved to nearest challenge came from Su the aforementioned Carya. Worthington, Anne Stephenson and Jim Fry with 77. Turkey Results窶認ull Handicap Round one was 1 Brian Haynes 35 40 36 34 145 played on the Gloria 2 Bill Coupe 38 32 38 33 141 New, the course was 3 Richard Munroe 37 33 38 30 138 in fantastic condition 35 38 30 32 135 and although not as 4 Sue Mawhinney 5 David Simpson 39 33 29 33 134 tight as the Old Course is a tremen6 Karl Dixon 39 30 33 29 131 dous test of golf. 7 Chris Hegarty 32 35 29 32 128 Karl Dixon continued 8 Simon Ormerod 35 30 34 29 128 his form from the AM 9 Bob Kerr 34 32 30 31 127 AM and topped the list with 39 points. A 10 Su Worthington 32 31 27 35 125 score matched by 11 Malcolm Baker 30 33 34 27 124 Dave Simpson. Bill 12 Sue Massingham 25 23 37 32 117 Coupe finished the 26 30 31 30 117 opening day with 35 13 Shirley Halhead 25 27 31 33 116 and Sue Mawhinney 14 Jim Fry was 3 points further 15 Yvonne Moir 27 32 32 25 116 back. 16 Gail Hegarty 30 28 25 31 114 The second round was back on the Gloria Old course. The tight layout obviously suited Brian Haynes

17 Sid Selfe

26 22 39 27 114

18 Gillian Lamond

35 18 31 28 112

19 Dave Sullivan

33 26 25 28 112

20 Willie McGinnes

24 25 36 23 108


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Although less than 2 years old the course, like so many in the area is carved through a forest of pine trees. The layout is simply stunning and tests players of all abilities. Sid Selfe certainly enjoyed the day and came home with an impressive 39 points. Bill Coupe was hot on his heels with 38 while Brian consolidated his top spot after “moving day” with another solid round of 36. So as we approached the final day Brian on 111 had a lead of 3 points from Bill Coupe and 5 points over Sue Mawhinney. Karl Dixon on 102 was the fourth member of the final four ball group. For the final round we returned to the Gloria New Course. Su Worthington shot the day’s best score with 35 points. However, this wasn't quite enough to catch

Sue Mawhinney who took the position of leading lady after a closing round of 32 points. Meanwhile in the final group, after nine holes Bill had clawed one point back from Brian’s lead and it looked as though things could get very close, especially considering the amount of water to negotiate over the closing holes. However, Brian held his nerve and by the time the group had reached the 18th tee the trophy was only heading in one direction. Our congratulations to Brian for winning a Greencard Tour Event for the third time, and of course his place at the finals later this year. Before leaving we visited the Cornelia Diamond resort as we had heard good reports, with a

view to maybe including it in the programme for 2011 instead of the Gloria. But those that accompanied me agreed that it was just too big and impersonal. The Gloria is a tough act to beat. It’s huge gardens give one a sense of space even though the hotel can comfortably accommodate 1200 people at full capacity. In May though they are no where near full and for us it has to be Greencard’s home in Turkey. The Gloria is unquestionably a wonderful golf resort, with 2 championship courses and excellent hotel facilities. The weather could not have been any better and we did not see one hint of a cloud all week with temperatures over 30 degrees every day. We look forward to our next event in Turkey and hope you can join us, you won't be disappointed.

THE RACE TO VILA SOL AFTER TURKEY Names

H’Cap

T Points Club

Names

H’Cap

T Points Club

Bill

Coupe

7

19

Lancaster

Richard

Burke

12

17

Santa Maria

Peter Karl

Quinn Dixon

17 14

6 6

Greenore Forest Pines

Colin

Robinson

Roger

Hunt

Alan

8

14

Malton & Norton

Sharon

Fell

30

5

Redditch

10

12

Wrag Barn

Gordon

Geddes

12

5

Wrag Barn

Baxter

6

11

Mere

Wallace

Grace

18

5

Ham Manor

Lewis

Mosse

14

11

Teignmouth

Geoffrey

McKeown

9

5

Channels

Reuben

Fielding

12

10

Tytherington

Anthony

Trafford

15

5

Weston Park

Paul

Holyhead

14

10

Nelson

Stella

Brewin

18

4

Torksey

Paul

Kaye

6

10

Brough

Chris

Lord

14

4

Moortown

Alan Julie Brian Martin

Orritt Rotchell Haynes Fell

10 14 11 6

10 10 10 10

Penwortham Monmouthshire Sundridge Park Copt Heath

Kiki

Bach

19

4

Santa Maria

Marian

Martin

18

4

Santa Maria

Neil

McGarva

6

4

Kilmacolm

Jackie

Carter

14

4

Rufford Park

Elizabeth

Fern

10

9

Willesley Park

Simon

Ormerod

9

4

Shaw Hill

Julie

Harris

14

9

Castle Eden

Rosie

Chisholm Hill

9

3

Ifield

Geoffrey

Henney

4

9

Woodbridge

Lawrence

Graham

5

3

Royal Guernsey

Russell

Smit

4

9

Woburn

Gwynneth

Fielding

19

3

Davenport

Ian

Robinson

5

9

Rufford Park

Bob

Kerr

6

3

Troon Welbeck

content to

Janette

Brown

16

8

Nelson

Godfrey

Horsford

12

3

St Ives

Neil

Bamber

6

8

Pinheiros Altos

Rosemary

Milton

17

3

Royal Mid Surrey

sit it out at

Gary

Corbett

8

8

Mere

Diane

Simpson

9

3

Goodwood Park

home or

John

Shearan

5

8

Co Louth

Julia

Allen

26

2

Langley Park

Ian

Harris

8

8

Winyard

Jenny

Staines

21

2

Bishops Stortford

Jeannie

O'Keeffe

5

8

Hankley Common

Anne

Archer

10

2

Ipswich

Sue

Mawhinney

19

8

Woodcote Park

Barry

Birdsall

14

2

Woburn

Chris

Hegarty

9

8

Chorlton/Hardy

John

Ward

14

2

Shaw Hill

Peter

Sumner

7

7

South Herts

Su

Worthington

6

2

Bristol & Clifton

Len

Peifer

8

7

Santa Maria

Elspeth

Baxter

23

1

Mere

Frank

Ryan

21

7

Royal Dublin

Dave

Simpson

16

7

Sundridge Park

Lodewijk Oliver

Schlingemann Egan

18 15

1 1

Moscow CC Royal Dublin

Kathleen Tony

Birdsall Marshall

23 13

6 6

Woburn Wildwood Park

Neil

Gillam

9

1

Wentworth

Brian

Henderson

4

1

St Andrews

Tim

Elliott

15

6

Hankley Common

Gail

Hegarty

14

1

Chorlton-c-Hardy

Keith

Dawkins

17

6

Roger

Lascelles

14

1

David

Newmarch

16

6

Abridge

Malcolm

Baker

9

1

John

O'Keeffe

12

6

The Wisley

So far there are 13 qualifiers for Vila Sol, but there are many now needing just a point or two. Will they be

will we see them make another attempt to qualify?”

East Devon


BILLY THE KID SHOOTS HIS AGE

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had a 32 in round three, held a 3 point lead from Ian. John was only one shot further back. Colin Robinson made the final member of the last fourball but was 9 shots off the lead. Even taking into account Bill's current form the closing holes at Pinheiros involve a fair amount of water, including the 17th, par 3 island green and a lead can quickly disappear. However, we need not have had such doubts as Bill came home equalling the day’s best score of 37 points set earlier by Shirley!

John Shearan with Ian Robinson, Jackie Carter and Bill Coupe

The Formosa Park event was to be held in the middle of April. However, when we were planning the tournament calendar last year we were, of course, unaware that a volcano with an unpronounceable name located in Iceland was going to have such an incredible impact on air travel.

San Lorenzo is a wonderful golf course but even more so when the weather brings blue skies and sun. Peter Sumner took advantage of the superb conditions and showed some early form with 37 points. Paul Borrell had 36, with John Shearan and Gabriel Gallagher just one further back.

When news of the ash problem first surfaced we thought that all would be well by the time we were due to depart. However, as time marched on and the problem grew the warning signs were well and truly apparent.

The second round, also at San Lorenzo, brought us the performance of the week with Bill Coupe, 72 this year, shooting a one under gross 71. It is not often a golfer shoots his age or better. It included an eagle on a par 4 with Bill holing out with a 7 iron approach shot. It was an incredible performance and our congratulations go to Bill for adding another memorable Greencard moment.

The main issue was that the event was not cancelled yet obviously nobody was able to travel. This in turn caused a huge headache as to who should be responsible, the suppliers had already been paid in full for the group. After several days of communicating with our agents in Portugal we managed to confirm new dates for the event, all be it that there would have to be some compromise with tee times, the free day and the group being split between two hotels. The airlines were refunding or allowing changes to the original bookings and so we felt that this was the best possible option. We were delighted that we still had a field of 32 golfers for the new dates and would like to pass on our thanks to everybody who was able to reschedule their commitments to attend the week which, ultimately we feel, was a success. The golf schedule for the week remained as per the original itinerary with two rounds on San Lorenzo and three rounds on Pinheiros Altos. However, the order the courses were to be played did have to be altered. The first two rounds were now going to be held at San Lorenzo and as we felt that these rounds should be part of the main competition the Am Am was moved to the end of the week.

Ian Robinson also had a strong round finishing with 37 points, whilst Peter Sumner came in with 35, a score matched by Jackie Carter who was also starting to show some form. John Shearan finished the day with 34. So at the half way stage Bill on 76 held a four point lead from Peter Sumner. John Shearan was on 69 with Ian Robinson just one further back. The venue changed for the remaining rounds as we switched to the nearby Pinheiros Altos. Ian Robinson continued his excellent form with another 37 points, and later celebrated by purchasing a red and yellow convertible car!! I believe that the shipping arrangements are still ongoing but you may well see Ian at a future UK event in this very special vehicle. Diane Simpson shot 36 points and with Jackie having 35 the competition for the position of leading lady was very much alive going into the final round as both were lying on 98 points. It was also a good day for the Shearans with John and Kevin both finishing with 35. As we headed into the final round Bill, who

The final winning margin was six points. Ian and John both shot 34 on the last round to secure second and third places respectively. Colin hung onto fourth place, despite a late charge from Tony Marshall, which ensured his qualification to the Vila Sol finals. Lewis Mosse also qualified for the finals after strong performances in the last two rounds. Jackie Carter just beat Diane to leading lady by a single point. The last round of the week was the Am Am and was won with a total of 111 points by the team led by Phil Raybone and including Jackie Tenniswood, Gabriel Gallagher and Kevin Shearan. The nearest challenge came from Shirley Halhead, Tony Marshall, Lewis Mosse and Vince Hallam who finished on 110. I have to say that whilst it is true that we all had to accept a level of compromise with the order the courses were played and the fact that two hotels were used rather than the usual one. The sun shone all week, the courses were in excellent condition and company was up to its usual high standard. I think overall we had a wonderful week of golf.

Formosa Park Results—Stableford 1

Bill Coupe

32

44

32

37

145

2

Ian Robinson

31

37

37

34

139

3

John Shearan

35

34

35

34

138

4

Richard Munroe

36

31

31

36

134

5

Colin Robinson

34

31

34

31

130

6

Tony Marshall

30

29

34

36

129

7

Peter Sumner

37

35

26

31

129

8

Jackie Carter

28

35

35

28

126

9

Diane Simpson

34

28

36

27

125

10

Lewis Mosse

25

29

35

35

124

11

Brian Henderson

33

26

30

35

124

12

John Lahiff

34

30

29

30

123

13

Gabriel Gallagher

35

28

33

26

122

14

Sue Massingham

30

32

29

29

120

15

Kevin Shearan

29

32

35

24

120

16

Paul Borrell

36

26

30

27

119

17

Marian Raybone

31

33

32

21

117

18

Paul Speakman

30

29

31

25

115

19

Vince Hallam

26

26

30

31

113

20

Anthony Trafford

33

27

22

30

112


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MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA but Malaysian. After dinner I visited the Beach Club bar. This was a very popular expat hangout and It is a being a Friday night it was buzzing. A large bar with an excellent Filipino live band and plenty of space outside to get away from the noise. In fact it was so popular with expats that all those looking for an expat husband were also there. A terrific combination and a great place for a party.

The Shangri La Rasa Ria in Borneo

“ In fact it was so popular with expats that all those looking for an expat husband were also there. !”

To an Asian ex-pat Malaysia’s Tourist slogan might seem a little presumptuous, after all S East Asian countries are as diverse as Greece from Germany, but to some extent it is justified because they have a little of everything. Fuelled by petrodollars Kuala Lumpur is the image of a modern, organised city closer to Hong Kong and Singapore than Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh. The beaches of Langkawi and Sabah rival anything that Phuket can offer and the racial mix within the country reflects its place as a crossroads of Asia. The Chinese, Malay, Christian and Hindu societies all exist in a racial harmony and tolerance not seen elsewhere. We have travelled now to practically every country in Asia and it was inevitable that we would get around to Malaysia. The golf course on Langkawi and the two luxury hotels have an enviable reputation in the travel industry and the quality of the courses around Kuala Lumpur are worthy of many PGA events. So I set off last week in anticipation of finding a country relaxed in its new found oil wealth and confident in its budding tourist industry.

Hotel of the World and I wanted to use this on a weekend because courses in the capital are busy. The hotel is very nice but the first bad news came from the Golf Director who announced that the club was closing one of the 9’s, for 6 months at a time and because of this members had priority over hotel guests. So no chance of getting a booking at a weekend. Immediately I was thinking that my carefully laid plans would need changing. I set off to the city centre Golden Triangle area and the Shangri La hotel. Just a short walk from the glittering twin Petronas Towers the hotel is a haven of tranquillity in a busy city. The rooms are very comfortable and the service superb. Perfect for Greencard and the best breakfast I have seen anywhere. That evening I set off to explore the area. Just across the street was an avenue of bars and restaurants that looked very lively. I was particularly looking to find a good Malaysian restaurant but didn’t spot anything and so ended up eating Italian. In fact there was just about everything

This was just one of half a dozen similar places on the street. The next night I ventured further along to the Twin Towers and did a bit of light shopping in the ultramodern shopping mall. Here there were dozens of restaurants to suit all tastes, but in truth if you don’t mind paying that little bit more you would be hard pushed to beat the dining choices in the Shangri La. During the day I hired a taxi and visited as many courses as possible. Kuala Lumpur GCC is by far the best club close to town and has two great courses. Glenmarie was also good and so was Saujana (if we wanted to play midweek). Next day I was back at the airport for the short flight to Langkawi. I hired a car on landing and drove around the island to take a look at the tourist area around Pantai Cenang and then across the other side of the island to Gunung Raya GC. The drive up to the club didn’t inspire and I was disappointed to find the course clearly lacking investment and water. I was beginning to get premonitions about this trip. But there was still The Andaman and Datai Bay GC to see and these were reputed throughout the world so even if Langkawi was to be a one course destination at least it would be a good one.

The first impression on landing in KL is palm trees. Acres and acres of them, covering fields as far as the eye can see. Palm oil is used for cooking across Asia and is now a considerable source of bio fuels. Malaysia is one of the main producers. The roads into the city are first world quality and one is struck at how green it is. All tree lined avenues, parks and gardens. Every spare piece of land is landscaped. My first port of call was Saujana G & CC, a hotel with a 36 hole golf course just 20 mins from the city centre. The Club at Saujana is a Leading

Shangri La Tanjung Aru


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published rate, even for a group of 40. So back up to KK and my next course, Borneo’s oldest, Sabah CC. Now this was more like it. A beautiful undulating course, with lakes and jungle and wildlife and ambience. Just 20 mins from the hotel and welcoming open arms. No worries about playing here twice and so I went back to the job in hand. Lost passport. First I went back to the Police Station in the hope they might have made a report with his name. No such luck. So I got my Police Report that it had been lost and then made a tour of the taxi depots, starting at the airport. I asked if anyone knew of a driver with my lost passport. Blank faces. Another Sabah Sunset The Andaman is located on Datai Bay, about 40 mins from Cenang. A beautiful crescent white sand beach, fringed with palms and mangroves and a backdrop of stunning mountainous rain forest. Truly one of the most spectacular and unspoilt resort locations I have ever seen. But when I parked the car and entered the hotel I wasn’t uplifted. The lobby is dark and cavernous. I sat down and had my welcome drink on the terrace where the sea is just visible through the trees. I was shown to my room, which I was told was an upgrade to sea view. The long walk down the concrete corridors seemed interminable and when my door was opened I was disappointed to find a room that didn’t seem to have been refurb’ed since the 80’s. (I was wrong, it had been upgraded quite recently, but the other forest view rooms were even older. But the view was still spectacular and if a little disappointing it was still very nice. So I headed off down to the beach past the monkeys and made my way to the beach bar. On the way I passed the pool area which was very shaded by trees and consequently full of leaves. The overall impression I was getting was one of complacency. The staff in the Beach Bar did their best to lift the mood but after a brief squall I went for a swim and found that just below the waterline there are rocks and stones as sharp as coral. This made it virtually impossible to swim. As Cenang was 40 mins away along winding roads I ate in at the main restaurant. The menu was quite varied but expensive. When the food came it was fine but uninspiring, certainly not good value at £100 for two. In the evening everyone seemed to go to bed very early and why not with beers at £6 a bottle. Up early I went over to the golf course which certainly was spectacular. Winding its way through the jungle it is filled with marvellous sights and sounds. It is no push over either, the scores in their recent Open competition were still on the board. The winner after 3 rounds was a 3 handicapper who was 12 over his hcp. I had been quoted £90 a round here and

now that we would have to play 3 times this was going to be expensive. I managed to beat them down to £70 but in my heart I knew we wouldn’t be coming. The massive thunderstorm over the airport pretty much summed up this research. All that was left intact of the original idea was a superb 5 star hotel in town and two fabulous courses. Back home and some serious thought. The only other place that tempted me was Borneo, home to headhunters and long nosed orang-u-tans. The capital of Sabah in Northern Borneo is the marvellously alliterative Kota Kinabalu. So after a weekend sailing in the Gulf of Thailand I returned to the airport and flew to KK. Arriving just after midnight I took a taxi to the Shangri La hotel and was deposited in front of some seedy looking place called the Shangri La in town. This clearly wasn’t the 5 star resort I had booked and so I told the driver to take me to the real Shangri La. He refused, so I refused to get out. Then he drove me to the Police station where the officer told him to grow up and take me to the SL Tanjung Aru and told me to tip him 10 Ringgits (£2). So I arrived furious at 1.30am. I leapt out of the cab and left my passport on the seat. At check in I realised that a nightmare was about to begin unless my taxi man was struck by some kind of nocturnal benevolent epiphany. He wasn’t. I woke next morning needing to hire a car with no passport. By midday he obviously wasn’t coming and the reality of being unable to return to Thailand set in. The concierge signed the car for me and I set about doing the job I had come for. The first call was Borneo GCC. This Jack Nicklaus design came with glowing reviews and so I thought it well worth the 75 min drive south. It wasn’t. As I drove in the dilapidated gates one could clearly see what might once have been a terrific course if it wasn’t obscured by the weeds growing in the bunkers and the general air of dereliction. Such a pity but even more astonishing was the air with which the manager assured me he couldn’t discount the green fee below the £80

So then I said I had a row with a taxi driver last night and he drove me to the Police. Did anyone know about that story? Everyone became incredibly animated. Apin was really angry with you, they said, he wanted to kill you he was so mad. Yes, yes, yes, he’ll have to get in the queue, but where is he? Oh he’s not working today. Does anyone have his number. Sure. Well can you call him and tell him if he brings it I will give him 100 MYR (£20). Sure. He has it? Great. How long will he take? 20 mins. Rarely have I felt such relief since losing my virginity. In 32 years of constant travel I have never lost my docs. So rather than eating in the hotel that night I set off to explore the town of KK. Earlier in the day I had spotted a Waterfront area and sure enough in the evening it was buzzing. About a dozen restaurants; Indian, Italian, Thai, Seafood, Chinese, Malay vied for space with The Cock and Bull and other live music pubs. All along the front were tables and chairs so all could eat in or out overlooking the bay and the islands. A great little spot for the golf post-mortem. A beautiful sunrise revealed the stunning view from my room over the South China Sea. After another enormous Shangri La breakfast I drove over to Karambunai Nexus resort about 40 mins north of the city. This was a beautiful mature course down by the sea and the mangroves with colourful blossom in the trees. From there it is just 15 mins to the Shangri La Rasa Ria resort. This resort is also on the beach and the golf course behind, Dalit Bay, is probably now the number one in the region. Perfectly presented it will be a great challenge for our final two rounds. The Rasa Ria is more isolated than Tanjung Aru and so I paid more attention to the dining arrangements. There is an international buffet and a Malaysian buffet every night for £22 nett and two award winning restaurants – Naan Indian and Coast – as well as a Tepanyaki. The beautiful white sand beach will be the perfect place to end our stay. Three Shangri La’s all excellent in their own way, some wonderful golf courses and of course the great Asian climate will make for a memorable holiday. Maybe Malaysia really is Truly Asia after all.


P a g e

THROUGH AN ASH CLOUD DARKLY

6

WHAT’S LEFT FOR THIS SEASON The biggest disappointment for us in 2010 has been the failure of our Eurobusters events to take off. The biggest surprise is how well our long haul events have held up. It seems that the money is still there for the main holiday but that the short weekend breaks are above and beyond the new budgets.

The Ash Cloud billows over Iceland

Having comprehensively told the UK government where to go when we asked for our money back from their failed banks, the plucky little Icelanders have given the most emphatic two finger salute. By launching a cloud of volcanic ash onto the winds of the North Atlantic they succeeded in costing European industry billions more than we lost in their banks.

“…..if you want protection under our ATOL licence you must let us buy the flights.."

But all the time that the airports were shut and the planes were on the ground I had a sneaking suspicion that we were perhaps overegging the ‘elf and safety aspect again. More computer models from the Met Office were telling us it was unsafe to fly. Based on what assumptions? Welcome to the new century of hypocrisy. To prevent the possibility of an air crash we have to bankrupt hundreds of businesses across Europe leading to the kind of human misery that causes increases in suicides. Happily sense seems to have prevailed but not before it completely trashed our trip to Formosa Park. 54 happy golfers were all packed and ready to go when the news broke. Of these 54 we bought the air tickets for just 7 of them. They were covered by our ATOL licence and are entitled to a full refund. For the other 47 the situation is as murky as the ash cloud itself. We, as always, paid our suppliers—the hotels and courses - in advance. On that fateful Saturday morning the hotels were waiting for out customers. They were open and ready to do business. As far as they are concerned any-

body who didn’t make it was a “No Show”. We did manage to reschedule this event, a much harder task than reorganising a group of 6 from Stansted. Happily nearly everyone on the original trip was able to make the new dates. It is still not clear where we stand with regards refunds from the hotel/golf courses for those who couldn’t attend. I suspect that while we are there this week that we will be able to resolve it all amicably. But there is a lesson here. The volcanic ash was different from nearly every other kind of disruption to a holiday. There was no war, no strikes, no civil unrest, no floods. There was just a Govt agency telling airlines they can’t fly. We have said many times before that if you want protection under our ATOL licence you must let us buy the flights. We have never made a penny from selling a flight ticket. We simply buy the flight and add the cost to your bill. If you see a flight that you want simply tell us and we will buy it for you. From that moment your holiday is protected. In this instance because we were able to reschedule this hasn’t really been an issue. But please don’t take it for granted that if your holiday fails to take place because of an Act of God that you are protected. As many of you found out, your insurance won’t cover you. Nor will ours. You have been warned. Buy the whole package from us or be unprotected. Happy holidays.

For the remainder of this year we have some superb trips to come. First up is St Pierre, just over the Severn Bridge with easy access from the M4 and M5. Four nights, d, b & b and 4 rounds for just £559. Terrific value and with not too big a field a great place to pick up some Tour Points. Carton House in Ireland is now filling very nicely and our usual crowd on the Irish tour are guaranteed a great time and this superb golf resort. But I know space is getting limited in the hotel so don’t delay if you are thinking of joining us. The Danube trip is full unless you are a multi millionaire as all the discounts and cheap cabins have gone but Woodhall Spa has plenty of space. Two fantastic courses in the centre of England. Easy for everyone to get to. Another great spot to pick up some tour points. Then of course we have the final Eurobuster. El Rompido is a superb 5 star hotel on its own 36 hole golf course. At just £499 for 4 nights d, b & b and 4 rounds of golf and car hire it is a real quality venue at an unbelievable price. We have some interest here and so we are hoping it will run. Please get in touch soonest if you are thinking of coming. Don’t forget though our two weekend strokeplay events at Portal in Cheshire and Bowood in Wilts. Specially designed for all those convinced that bandits win everything. 10 handicap max. Finally there is Arizona. Our first ever trip there and destined to be one of the best. With a large turnout Scottsdale will be jumping to the sound of English accents in October. We could probably squeeze in a couple


THE WORLD HAS BEEN SAVED— GORDON HAS GONE invest in bonds guaranteeing we missed the ensuing Stock Market rise.

Even from 5,000 miles one could almost sense the relief that Clegg Minor finally opted to sleep in the Tory dorm. For two interminable days it looked as though he was going to become Gordon’s fag and start polishing his boots and making his coffee. When Clegg Minor told the Headmaster that he really liked Labour House best but he would rather fag for someone else, Mr Handlebum said if he would just fag for Gordon until the Autumn he would ensure that he got a new prefect. As if! Gordon would have declared in the summer that there were no other suitable candidates for Head Boy and would have called another election in the hope that he could win a few more seats. But in the end Cleggy realised that the boys in Tory dorm were nicer and anyway “Matey” promised that he wouldn’t have to do any fagging and he could go straight into the 6th Form. Oh Joy! Hands in pockets, jacket undone, flowery waistcoat and his very own fag. Could it really have ended any other way. Two caricatures of the typical English Public Schoolboy have finally seen off the Scottish mafia. “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times, In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways Of custom, law, and statute, took at once The attraction of a country in romance! “

Although I am now 57 and the formation of the coalition was hardly comparable with the French Revolution I think I know what Wordsworth was driving at. The party that gave us 3,000 new ways to be a criminal. The party that ensured that we are all stars in our own Truman Show with over 1 million CCTV cameras. The party that took more care of criminals than victims, that could see nothing wrong with taxing people and then giving them back their money in credits. The party that destroyed our pensions by taxing dividends and then forced them to

The party that went to war on a lie and discovered that if the public were so gullible as to believe that whopper then why stop there. The party that became known as NuLiebore has gone at last. I could of course go on and on but you get the drift. An unpleasant 13 year experiment in social engineering has ended and I do believe that our two toffs have got what it takes to sort it all out. One toff alone would have struggled but with an Oxford educated Old Etonian to lead and a Cambridge Old Wet as deputy we have a “Smashie & Nicey” pairing that genuinely represents what the English voted for. Tories with a soft centre. The scale of Labour’s incompetence is now being uncovered and the departing Liam Byrne’s little “joke” that there’s no money left is being seen to be true. Gordon’s claim to have saved the world by transferring debt from banks to the State is now being shown for what it was—Hubris. Sovereign debt is now the world’s greatest problem and the buck stops there. From now on those nations that want to borrow are going to have to appear in the beauty parade because there simply won’t be enough money to go round. For make no mistake that as just one of dozens of countries with your hand out for loans you are going to have to paint your nails and do your hair if you want the lenders to invite you to dance. But don’t despair. If on June 22nd “Ozzy” Osborne does give us the £6bn in Cuts and does raise VAT to 20% the markets will begin to take the Dynamic Duo seriously and you will see the economy begin its long crawl back to health. There will be massive problems on the way to Nirvana but the traditional British stoicism will see us through. If you take a look at Ireland, Italy, Greece and Portugal you will see the kind of austerity measures that will shortly be upon us. The big dark ash cloud on the horizon is

a g e 9their that if all countries race toPeliminate deficits at the same time it could cause the mother of all global depressions.

The fact that the World’s biggest debtor appears not to want to even go to the Ball will ensure that sooner or later the dollar will start to slide. For now it is a safe haven against Euro troubles but if you are going to Arizona with us in October it is too early to be buying your dollars just yet. But it might just be that the Yanks are right. This tsunami of sovereign debt maybe too big to swallow and default might be the better option. When you own the World’s reserve currency that is the World’s, and especially China’s, problem. If anyone believes as does Gordon that not only has he saved the world but ensured the recovery then it is time to call for Nursey. This sovereign debt crisis is the centre of the storm that has been brewing since 2007. Right now it is hovering over Greece but it will soon move over Whitehall. Let’s hope that Smashie and Nicey have what it takes.

TOO MANY IN THE EURO LIFEBOAT Just as the Duke of Wellington decided to fight the Battle of Waterloo to the last drop of Irish blood by putting the Enniskillen's bang in front of the French cannons, the EU technocrats are determined to win the battle of the Euro by sacrificing the Greeks and maybe the Portuguese. These countries are being forced into wage and price deflation in order to restore their competitiveness within the Euro zone. Anyone who has travelled to these countries knows that prices have rocketed. But deflation is a terrible price to pay for the notional benefit of keeping the Eurozone intact. Deflation means bankruptcies, unemployment and repossessions. The Irish have already imposed civil service pay cuts across the board and it is hurting. But in Ireland there is possibly a sense that they were all invited to the party. But that is not the case in Athens and Portugal. It is largely perceived that the ruling classes stole the benefits. It is hard to imagine that the ordinary Greek will take this lying down. But to the EU technocrats saving the Euro is paramount. “The Project” must not be allowed to falter, let alone fail. To throw the Greeks and Portuguese out of the Euro would be seen as failure. To this end all EU taxpayers must cough up €750bn to bail them out. And when that runs out, as it surely will, the boat will still be sinking. The Greeks will be swimming soon and the bankers will have trousered another €750bn. The Gods on Brussels’ Mt Olympus fail to see the suffering of the mere mortals below.


DOES SANTA WEAR A RED SHIRT? Bangkok Burns for one man’s vanity

I could write a book on Thai politics but in a few brief paragraphs I shall attempt to explain the events of the last 4 weeks. An explanation that you won’t get from the BBC. The scenes from Bangkok have been particularly distressing to the vast majority of Thais who wanted nothing to do with the Red Shirt insurrection—for that is what it was. Contrary to media reporting of unarmed peasants, the black shirted militia in amongst the Reds were heavily armed with M79 RPGs, pistols and semi-automatics. Ex-PM Thaksin paid the poor from the North between 500—1000 baht (£10—£20) a day to go to Bangkok and protest. A normal farm worker’s daily wage would be 200B. He expected his paid militia to be joined by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Thais in their fight for “democracy”, by which he meant another election where he could once again buy the votes and regain his position and more importantly his $billions. At no point did more than 10,000 appear on the streets in support, most of them on the payroll. The Reds built a fortress that was occupying an area of Bangkok equivalent in size and importance to the area bounded by Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. From their stronghold they launched forays into Government buildings and TV stations. When local Bangkokians demonstrated their opposition because they wanted to return to work, the Reds launched grenades at them killing one and wounding many. The hopelessly ineffectual Police just stood by. Thaksin was of course a Police Officer. At that point the Army were called in and an attempt to remove

the demonstrators resulted in 23 deaths. PM Abhisit then agreed to televised negotiations with the Red Shirt leaders which led to the offer of a new election later this year. The Red Shirts rejected it because they wanted a quick election where the usual corruption could go unhindered. So to save face they also demanded a pardon for Thaksin and the arrest of the Deputy PM for ordering the Army to try and end the demo. At that point ordinary Thais lost patience. Abhisit sensed that the time was right and sent in the Army to break up the fortress. The results were broadcast to the world. Targeted assassinations of the militia leaders culminated in the final assault. Weeks of propaganda from the Red’s stage inciting their supporters to burn Bangkok to the ground if the Army attacked appears to have been absorbed. But the day belonged to the Government. I believe that the best PM Thailand has ever had will now, with a strengthened hand, go forward and bring reconciliation to the poor of the North. A programme that he had already started by reinstating free schools to 16 yrs and interest free loans to farmers. Not only did he take on Thaksin but he also defeated the shadowy figures behind the scenes who wanted no compromise with the peasants. His masterful diplomacy completely wrong footed his opponents and leaves him in an unassailable position. He is now the next most popular Thai after the King. This has been a hugely expensive operation for Thaksin and hopefully was his

last throw of the dice. His henchmen have fled or been arrested. The Reds have lost all credibility and I seriously believe that Abhisit will win the election when it is called. I also believe that peace will break out and calm will return to the country. The Western Media has continually tried to portray this upheaval as a fight for democracy against an unelected government and the rights of the poor underprivileged peasants from “ His masterful the North. When in diplomacy reality it was an atcompletely wrong tempt by a fugitive exfooted his PM to bring about a revolution that would opponents and see him in power leaves him in an when the forthcoming unassailable Royal succession takes place, and then position.” who knows…... There is no doubt that Thaksin’s brief 6 yr reign benefitted the poor, with his 30 baht health scheme and free education up to 16 yrs. Poverty halved in that time. And for these things many see him as a kind of Robin Hood. But what they didn’t see was that for every baht he gave to the poor he kept 10 for himself. He sold state land to his family at knock down prices and arranged loans to Burma with massive kickbacks. His War on Drugs, although popular, resulted in 2500 extrajudicial murders by police for which no one has been charged. The poor peasants believe his return will bring back the good old days but like Gordon he rode the boom and has no policy for the bust. Where does this all leave Greencard with our traditional Thai trips in January? The straight answer has to be wait and see. Several have already bought their flights and without doubt the Thais desperately need the tourists to return. Just as we went to Phuket right after the Tsunami when the FO was advising against all travel I sense that we should return to Thailand in January. The FO is again advising tourists to stay away and I would agree that Bangkok and the N East may be unstable for a week or two more but here in Hua Hin you wouldn’t know anything had happened. The Thais have no stomach for revolution and it is to be hoped that when the demonstrators return home they will sense that they have lost all support because of their actions. Stay tuned.


Page 9

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2011 The big new destination for the early part of the year will of course be Malaysia. But we have written already about that trip. All that I would like to add is that as the trip overlaps with Chinese New Year flights back from Kota Kinabalu at the end will be busy so if you have already bought your flights to Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok please let us have the details so we can book your return flight to get good connections. As I predicted when I wrote the piece about Bangkok burning peace has now broken out in Thailand. There is no sense at all that it is an uneasy peace, more a shocked recognition that what happened was a disaster for the country. I would have no hesitation in recommending both of our Thailand trips. Hua Hin, as regulars know is the Royal City and as such is above politics. While the troubles were going on you would never have known anything was amiss here. The New Year’s Eve party is still unbeatable and many of our regulars have already booked.

For Thailand Two we will be returning to Chiang Mai in the North. Since our last visit 7 years ago there has been a golf course construction boom. Some terrific new courses and we have booked into the Chedi (pronounced Chedee) which is the top hotel in town there. Right on the River it is the ultimate in cool oriental Chic. Anyone booking either Thailand trip before 31st August will be entitled to 1 hour Free Spa treatment or 1 Free Dinner at both the Dusit in Hua Hin and the Chedi in Chiang Mai. We are undecided about February as we felt maybe a change from Marrakech to Tunisia might be good, but the weather is less certain and the half board options in the hotels don’t appeal as much as the great food in Morocco. South Africa will shortly be in the spotlight and next year we have decided to do one trip but with three stops—The Vineyard in Cape Town, Arabella and Fancourt. 15 nights and some of the best golf anywhere. We will return to Portugal at the end of April and we may well put in a European event in

March, probably in Spain as there are some great deals about. Turkey in May at the Gloria is now almost a permanent fixture. We have looked at the other hotels but although All Inclusive has its attractions it also has its drawbacks, and anyway you can always take the AI option at The Gloria. We are currently looking at Bulgaria. There are now three courses on the Black Sea coast above Varna. Flights are quite pricey but Gary Player and Ian Woosnam have designed the courses and the hotels and golf are cheap. Full details will be on the website next week. Our Irish trip is to return to our original base of Killarney. Probably the best craic anywhere in Ireland. Dooks, Killarney— both courses and Ring of Kerry make up the four. Then we are holding back our surprise event for the year—Canada. Vancouver and Whistler with a trip in the Rocky Mountaineer train. Full details will be a while yet but it looks a distinct possibility.

VILA SOL FOR THE GRAND FINALS Grand Finals & Greencard Masters—October 30th to November 6th

Vila Sol Hotel

Vila Sol Apartment Village

After the huge success of our Grand Finals Week at Vila Sol in 2009 we have decided to return in 2010. The resort has everything we need for our season closing festival of golf: an excellent choice of accommodation between the 5 star hotel and superbly appointed apartments, and of course a challenging 27 hole course.

Included for Qualifiers

The Greencard Masters



Return flight from your local airport



7 Nights b & b in shared room at the Vila Sol Apartments



7 days car hire between 2



5 rounds of golf on the Vila Sol courses

As always we will be proposing a tournament for the non-qualifiers as well. The Greencard Masters will be the usual format of an Am Am followed by 4 rounds of stableford with some great prizes. Be there to crown the 2009 Champion.

The flight will be into Faro and from there it is a 30 mins drive to this fabulous 5 star resort.



All tournament fees

This hotel is right on the golf courses and so there is a minimum of driving and it is very close to Vilamoura with its plethora of bars and restaurants. We have held prices this year and we have negotiated 20% discounts on all food & beverages in the resort, including the club house, which should help offset the sickly Pound.

Prices for the Greencard Masters

Upgrade Prices Hotel

£140

Single Supplement Hotel

£269

Single Supplement Apt

£149

Extra Night Hotel p room

£100

Extra Night per Apartment

£100

Golfer Hotel

£759

Golfer 2 Bed Apartment

£619

Non Golfer

-£200

Single Room Supp Hotel

£269

Single Room Supp Apt

£149

Golf Only

£379

FLIGHT NOT INCLUDED

Golfer June 2010  

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