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Greencard Golf Holidays 4 Hillcroft, Anchor Road, Calne SN11 8HR T F W .

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GRANDSTAND FINISH BY GOLFING GRANNY In This Issue

the resort was showing the effects of having changed hands twice during the year and is currently lacking a little TLC.

Vila Sol Grand Finals Arizona

Jeannie started as she finished by leading her team of Peter Quinn, Lewis Mosse and Chris Hegarty to victory.

El Rompido Slow Play Researching North Vietnam

But from then on the sun shone bright and warm all week. Anne Fern’s 35 was good enough to take the lead in Round One and she had Alan Orritt and John Mac close behind.

John Newark The Ryder Cup Finals Venue Neil Ratcliffe, Jeannie O’Keeffe and Paul Kay share a joke in Vila Sol

Contents

Grand Finals

2

Vila Sol (cont) El Rompido

3

Arizona

4

Agent Orange in North Vietnam

6

Final Tour Points

8

Grand Finals on the Move

9

Putting Slow Play on the Clock

9

Taking us for a Ryder

10

Merry Christmas & Turkey Date

10

Jeannie O’Keeffe, whose sobriquet is Golfing Mum must now change it to Golfing Granny with the arrival of Liam, her first grandchild. Starting the final round two points off the lead, she birdied the first and played a flawless front 9 to take a 5 point lead at the turn. Anne Fern who had led from Round One had finally been overhauled on the very tight Vila Sol course. As Jeannie’s nearest challengers were 7 point behind her, all she needed was a quiet back nine. But suddenly things began to unravel. Dropping shots at the 10th and 11th she then scrambled through the next three holes before a disastrous finish with just 2 points in the last 4 holes. Meanwhile Neil Ratcliffe, last year’s winner handed in a 36 from the group ahead and suddenly things became very cloudy. Both John Mac and Paul Kaye playing alongside the girls in the final group had also rallied on the back nine and things had become very tense. Poor Annie has found herself in

this position 3 times now and has failed to convert. She was very disappointed with her 23 points but should take heart that if she keeps getting into this position she will surely win soon. But when the cards were all handed in no one could work out who had won. It was very clear that it was close but who was it going to be. When the printer finally spluttered into life only 2 points separated the top 5. Jeannie was the winner, and Neil Ratcliffe was runner up with his fabulous final round. He beat both John Mac (3rd) and Paul Kaye (4th) on count back. Sitting out on the golf club terrace, bathed in warm autumnal sunshine, it was a time to reflect on a great year with a fabulous finale. But the week had started with a rather damp and chilly day for the Am Am. It was immediately clear that the Vila Sol courses were not in such good shape as last year. The greens were slow and a little uneven and the tees were a little scruffy. Generally

In Round Two she again led the field with 34 but this time she was joined by Jeannie and Alan. So at halfway she and Alan were four clear of John Mac and John Shearan. But as so often happens on “moving day” the whole picture changed. Paul Kaye’s 37 moved him right up the leader board into 3rd place and although Lewis’ 36 was good he was too far behind to influence proceedings. But Jeannie’s 36 moved her right into contention from where she was able to launch her assault on the title. In that final round Len Peifer celebrated his birthday with an excellent 35 and Reuben Fielding had 34. But the week belonged to Jeannie and although we were a little disappointed with the condition of Vila Sol, the course certainly provided a test of golf to produce a very worthy champion. We have decided that it is time for a change of scene next year, and because we will no longer be paying for the winner’s flights, we will be able to put more of the budget into hotel and green fees. Whilst we were in Portugal we looked at several venues—our preferred choice would be Quinta do Lago and Laranjal. But you will have to wait and see.


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CHRIS CLARKSON’S MASTER CLASS As always at the Grand Finals we hold a separate competition for those that want to be there at the finish. It always attracts a good field and this year was no exception. Although overall numbers were down, this was more a reflection on the venue I think than the state of the economy or the popularity of the event. We hope to reverse that next year. Chris Clarkson used to be a regular competitor on Tour but an illness a few years back meant he had to lay off golf for a couple of years. At last year’s finals he made his reappearance and he showed that he had lost none of his skills. This year he went one better and won the Masters title by a convincing 7 shots. After round one his 32 led John O’Keeffe, Tony Brook and Kevin Shearan by 1 shot. In Round Two it was Margaret Brook with 35 who headed the field but John O’Keeffe, Kiki Bach and Chris were just a point behind. That put Chris and John 5 points clear of the field and his 33 in the third round was enough to take him 6 points clear of John who was himself 5 points ahead of Kevin Shearan and the chasing pack.

Kevin, Kiki, Chris and Richard

So in the final round it was more a question of who would be 2nd. James Fielding and Kevin joined John and Chris in the final group but the race for the places was by no means confined to them.

But even though Chris stumbled with 28 he was still 6 points ahead of Kevin who was delighted with his performance. Richard Phillips was third and Gerry Gentle fourth. Kiki was the leading lady in 8th place.

In the event Lodewijk Schlingemann, whose latest Russian girlfriend wowed the crowd, won the day with 33, matched by Richard Phillips and Kevin Shearan. Tony Wells and Gerry Gentle finally showed some form and Kiki sealed her leading lady spot with 31.

The great thing about the Masters is the camaraderie. No Tour Points to be won, no qualifying, just a good old fashioned golf tournament. If you win—Great. If you don’t get back to Oscars and do some Karaoke.

Vila Sol Masters— Masters—Final Results

Vila Sol Tour— Tour—Grand Finals Results

1

CLARKSON CHRIS

32

34

33

28

127

1

O'KEEFFE JEANNIE

29

34

36

27

126

2

SHEARAN KEVIN

31

29

28

33

121

2

RATCLIFFE NEIL

27

33

29

36

125

3

PHILLIPS RICHARD

30

30

26

33

119

3

MAC JOHN

33

31

29

32

125

4

GENTLE GERRY

28

28

30

32

118

4

KAYE PAUL

29

28

37

31

125

5

O'KEEFFE JOHN

31

34

28

25

118

5

FERN ANNE

35

34

32

23

124

6

KERR ROBERT

28

26

32

31

117

6

BAXTER ALAN

23

33

32

32

120

7

CROSSLAND PHIL

29

31

27

30

117

7

FIELDING REUBEN

28

31

26

34

119

8

BACH KIKI

22

34

27

31

114

8

HARRIS IAN

27

29

29

33

118

9

BROOK TONY

31

28

25

30

114

9

PEIFER LEN

30

24

28

35

117

10 BROOK MARGARET

24

35

27

28

114

10 HUNT ROGER

28

30

27

32

117

11 FIELDING JAMES

28

28

31

27

114

11 ROBINSON COLIN

25

32

30

30

117

25

32

32

28

117

12 SCHLINGEMANN L

25

28

26

33

112

12 TRAFFORD ANTHONY

13 BROWN NEIL

26

26

33

26

111

13 ORRITT ALAN

34

34

23

26

117

14 WELLS TONY

21

30

22

32

105

14 SHEARAN JOHN

31

33

23

29

116

15 FELL SHARON

23

28

23

29

103

15 HAYNES BRIAN

29

33

26

27

115

16 ROBINSON IAN

29

27

32

26

114

16 FERN MELVYN

19

31

25

28

103

17 CARTER JACKIE

25

22

25

27

99

17 MUNROE RICHARD

27

29

32

25

113

18 MARTIN MARIAN

23

27

27

17

94

18 QUINN PETER

31

28

25

28

112

19 HEGARTY GAIL

24

23

27

18

92

19 HARRIS JULIE

27

25

34

26

112

87

20 MOSSE LEWIS

21

30

36

23

110

20 LASCELLES ROGER

15

22

22

28


THE LAST OF THE EUROBUSTERS

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solid 36 points. Geoff's 32 was enough to move him into the lead by one point as Peter had, by his standards, a poor day at the office finishing with 26. We returned to the South course for the final round. Although strange events had occurred on many a last day of events it was likely to be a straight shoot out between Geoff and Peter as the chasing pack started the day 10 points behind second place. By the half way stage Geoff was looking very good whilst Peter was trying to hold onto his coat tails. The defining moment occurred on the dogleg 10th hole where Peter could only make one point and Geoff birdied for 4 points. The momentum continued with Geoff as he carded a fantastic 42 points to take the victory by 10 points from Peter who finished the last round with 33. Neil Gillam, Geoff Hill, Jackie Bleakley and Peter Sumner at a sparsely populated El Rompido

This was Greencard's first visit to the El Rompido golf resort in Spain. Located just an hour from Faro. The hotel is perched on the Huelva coastline, wedged between the ever-popular hot spots of the Algarve and the Costa Del Sol. We were to play three rounds on the El Rompido South course and one round at the Islantilla Golf Resort. The opening round was played on the South course. The first nine holes here require real precision and caution, while the back nine offer a little more space allowing for risk and reward shots to come into play. Geoff Hill with 36 and Peter Sumner with 35

points certainly took advantage of the course layout and took an early lead from the pack. Peter's form continued into the second round where a tremendous 39 points secured top spot at the half way stage with a combined total of 74. Geoff having finished the day with 32 was 6 shots behind. Neil Gillam was in third position and needed to finish in the top 6 places to gain his place at the finals in Vila Sol. We moved to Islantilla for the third round, another tight course as it winds its way through tree lined fairways and offers only small greens as targets. It was going to be a tough challenge but one which Neil Gillam was equal to as he finished with a

Neil Gillam came third which was enough to secure his qualification to the finals week, whilst Jackie Bleakley claimed the leading lady.

El Rompido Results— Results—Stableford 1 Geoff Hill

36

32

33

42 143

2 Peter Sumner

35

39

26

33 133

3 Richard Munroe

30

38

29

28 125

4 Neil Gillam

23

31

36

34 124

5 Jackie Bleakley

25

23

35

30 113

6 Phil Crossland

26

28

25

30 109

7 Richard Bleakley

22

31

26

27 106

8 Maggie Stevenson

25

27

25

28 105

9 Linda Crossland

20

18

25

21

84

TEN TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SPEED OF PLAY Over the years at Greencard I have seen literally hundreds of slow players. But strangely I have never met one. Whenever I confront a group that has dropped a couple of holes, they always point the finger at someone else. In truth we are all guilty to some extent. But if we manage the 10 points below then things would start to improve. 1

Whilst waiting for a green to clear, work out your shot and select your club before having a chat.

2

Mark your scorecard whilst the others are putting out or when they are driving off, not after they have putted out or when it is your honour on the tee.

3

Don't be afraid to play out of turn if you are ready, or if you cannot reach the green, or if your partners are raking bun kers etc. Play ready golf.

4.

Always watch your partners' shots so that you can help them look if needs be.

5.

If you are shortest off the tee or furthest from the flag it is your duty to get to your ball first.

6

Always play a provisional ball from the tee if you are in doubt as to where your ball finished. It helps get an idea of the length you should be looking, and it saves returning to the tee.

7.

Never leave your cart or trolley in front of the green. Al ways think about where you will exit the green.

8.

Remember that it is THE game not just YOUR game that you should be thinking about.

9

If a gap opens up ahead it is your duty to close it. Saying that you were never pushed is not the answer. The group behind won’t feel a need to move faster if they have you in sight.

10 Never be afraid to remind your partners that you are not keeping up with the field. A simple rule of thumb is this. If you arrive at a Par 3 and you don’t have to wait for the green to clear then you are not keeping up with the pace of play. Let’s make 2011 the year we started to roll back the clock. See page 9


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DEE’S THE SHARPEST SHOOTER IN THE WEST The forecast had been saying rain for the Wednesday for weeks and sure enough the day dawned grey and overcast. Just before 9am there was a downpour on the Karsten course followed by a huge rainbow settling on the mountain. And that was it for the day. We played another Am Am on the course where Phil Mickelson honed his skills. Although they had finished overseeding and the course was in great condition, with the greens a little slow, they still insisted on Cart Path Only. This was the 3rd course out of 4 and was hugely frustrating. With the best will in the world 5hr rounds are inevitable. Geoff Bickerton’s team of Jane Le Maistre, Gary Coleman and Melanie Barton won on count back from husband Jim Barton’s team of Pauline Kirkman, Dee Shotton and Brian Haynes.

Gary Coleman, Martyn Cole, Dee Shotton, Jeannie O’Keeffe and Russell Smit at Grayhawk, Arizona

“….the posse kept up a spirited chase but the outlaw was away in the hills.”

My stepdaughter Emmanuelle briefly returned to her old job starting us on the tee.

We all assembled at Talking Stick for the practice round, under a blazing sun, in the Arizona desert. The club takes its name from the Indian practice of only allowing the man holding the Talking Stick to speak. Something maybe the BBC should consider for Question Time or interviews with Jeremy Paxman. The club wanted to do a shotgun start but when we arrived, instead of 1 group per tee they bunched us all onto 8 tees. The inevitable 5hr 30 min round ensued. Happily it all finished in daylight and in time for the welcome cocktail in the clubhouse. Russell Smit led his team of Sue Henney, Tom Bolger and Dee Shotton to a 5 shot victory. But I suspect the real winners on the day were the mosquitoes. A panic purchase of

mozzie spray was required but it seems they only live down at Talking Stick. After a relaxing day round the pool we took the highway north to Anthem Golf Club for round one. Two courses right out in the desert. Straight hitting required as the fairways were narrow and our new girl Dee Shotton woke everyone up with a startling 42. Sally Ward was next with 38 and Martyn Cole, Jeannie O’Keeffe and Chris Hegarty all shot 35. Already people were mumbling that the Ladies always win in the States. We then had a shopping day before Round Two at TPC Champions course. Not quite as well known as the Phoenix Open Stadium course but nonetheless a true test that also hosts USPGA events. This time Dee really shot them down with 48 points and they were numerous calls for the Sherrif. But in truth she had simply had the round of her life making 10 single putts in the round. A benefit of having had to lay off golf for two years which she spent practising her short game. This score took the spotlight off Sally who shot another 38 along with Tom Bolger and Gary Coleman.

But the rains hadn’t yet left and a disappointing free day that should have been spent round the pool was transferred to the shopping malls of Scottsdale of which there are plenty. Shopping is undoubtedly the American sport par excellence. It seems incredible that so many shops can all be supported by the residents. Every few hundred yards there is another Walmart or similar. So with just two rounds to go Dee was 14 shots ahead of Sally who was herself 4 clear of Martyn Cole. Tom Bolger, Chris Hegarty and Gary Coleman in the posse kept up a spirited chase but the outlaw was away in the hills. But at Boulders for Round Three they picked up a track as Dee fell away with a surprising 26 points. Gail Fee plotted her way around the spectacular rocky outcrops to shoot 39 and Russell, Gary and Anthony Trafford all shot 38. Brian Haynes, Simon Klimcke, Jim Barton, Clare Bolger and John Jagger all scored 37. So on moving day there was plenty of movement. Although Dee and Sally were still on top the gap had closed to 7 points and Gary and Martyn both felt they might have a chance of catching her if she stumbled again. Unfortunately Sally had to leave a day early to see her family in Florida which again gave Dee a comfortable 10 shot cushion but strange things can happen in the final round of Greencard events. To finish we went to the best course of the week at Grayhawk. The Rap-


two bins full of bottles of beer, wine, gin and vodka and we served large measures of alcohol for $2 a shot for 90 mins each evening. In fact it turned out to be the best thing. Nobody can resist a $2 bar and so every night was a party.

Grayhawk’s Raptor—This is why we went!

On reflection I think that when we return to Arizona we would make it a 2 centre trip with a few nights up in the beautiful mountain scenery of Sedona as well. Scottsdale in peak season—Jan to March—is very expensive. When we were there this year in October late bookers were able to get on all the course at a fraction of what we were paying for advanced bookings. It seems a little unfair that if you bring a large group you have to pay twice as much.

tor was a fitting finale. But although Dee stumbled a little on the back nine her superb birdie on the last in front of the crowds gave her a well deserved victory by 4 points from Gary. Geoff Bickerton shot a gross 75 round a very tricky course and Russell Smit scored 35, Geoff Henney, Anne Marie Coleman and Jeannie all scored 34. It was a course for the low men and ladies. This gave Russell and Jeannie their place in the Finals. Martyn who had been the most consistent all week was third and Traff was 5th. In all it was an excellent competition. US courses do seem to give the girls a big advantage but not quite so much in Arizona. The biggest disappointment of the week was the cart path only rule at 5 out of 6 courses. It was very frustrating and

had we known we would never have booked to come at this time of year. They say that November is nice but we have seen how cold it can be when the weather turns. I suspect that March is the best season. Flying West always gives the worst jet lag and it takes a while for people to settle down. The time difference makes people irritated and from an organiser’s point of view it’s hard. Although our rooms at the Sheraton Desert Suites were extremely well equipped they were very dark requiring lights all day. Not great if the weather is poor. But in fairness the resort was exactly as billed apart from one important detail. The bar shuts at 5pm and no amount of persuasion could get them to open it longer. But we managed to get them to allow us to open our own bar. So every night the two Richard’s manhandled

The over seeding season is a great time to go for a small group who just want play as they go along. Make a booking for the following day and green fees of $80 are standard at even the very top courses. Book in advance and you pay top dollar - anything from $120—$250. Also if you go in the summer golf is great and cheap—and very hot! The jet lag is a nuisance—8hrs time difference takes more than a couple of days to get over. But if you asked me to choose between Scottsdale and Dubai I would take Scottsdale every time. Literally hundreds of courses, thousands of restaurants to suit every budget, beautiful uncrowded roads and shopping to die for. The golf maybe expensive but it is no more so than Dubai. Dubai is great for a short break but anything much more than a week and I would head for Arizona. But desert golf is different and fun. And when we all recover from the flight home I am sure that people will remember the parties and the cacti more than the lack of a hob!

Arizona Results— Results—Stableford

Fighting the light at Boulders 1

SHOTTON DEE

42

48

26

30

146

2

COLEMAN GARY

30

38

38

36

142

3

COLE MARTYN

35

37

34

33

139

4

SMIT RUSSELL

30

34

38

35

137

5

TRAFFORD ANTHONY

27

37

38

32

134

6

HEGARTY CHRIS

35

34

34

30

133

7

O'KEEFFE JEANNIE

35

31

32

34

132

8

BOLGER TOM

32

38

34

28

132

9

131

BICKERTON GEOFF

31

33

30

37

10 COLEMAN ANNE M

32

32

33

34

131

11 BARTON JIM

32

32

37

30

131

12 FEE GAIL

28

37

39

27

131

13 KLIMCKE SANDIE

32

34

33

30

129

14 HENNEY GEOFF

32

29

33

34

128

15 BOLGER CLARE

33

31

37

27

128

16 ARCHER ANNE

29

32

34

31

126

17 ATTWELL BILL

31

33

32

30

126

18 HAYNES BRIAN

32

29

37

28

126

19 BUCKHOLT ROBERT

29

33

32

30

124

20 FRY JIM

32

30

36

26

124


AGENT ORANGE GOES NORTH OF THE DMZ Picturesque Hoi An

After two successful tours to Saigon and South Vietnam we decided that we should also have a look at the North. Hanoi is surrounded by some excellent golf courses but up until now there was nowhere else to go to play golf. Two sensational developments near Da Nang have dramatically changed that. Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman have designed two courses, side by side, between Da Nang and the picturesque fishing village of Hoi An. Right on China Beach, made famous by the Americans during the war as their main R & R, they are contrasting and complementing styles. Norman has designed a tough links style course and Monty has gone for more of an American style course in the desert, reminiscent of the courses in Dubai. The other problem with the North is that the weather isn't so consistent. Hanoi in January and February can be cold, but October and November can be very wet in Central Vietnam, and these are the two main long haul holiday periods from the UK. So I thought the best way to test it would be to go in October. On arrival in Hanoi the weather was beautiful. The drive from the airport was easy, crossing the Red River, to the city between rivers (which is what Ha Noi means). Thousands of beeping motorbikes surrounded us like an escort into the tree lined avenues of the Old City. The French influence is unmistakeable, no more so than in the 100 year old Metropole Hotel. Situated right in the middle of the Old Quarter and near the Hoan Kiem Lake it is a step back to a bygone era. Similar in fact to the Sofitel in Da Lat. Outside stand two old Citroens

and inside are large wooden floored rooms. The leisure area around the pool is a haven from the bustling city and the restaurants cater for every taste. But we weren't here for lounging about and so I steeped straight out to get a feel for the city. The first thing to realise is that you will never cross the road by waiting for the traffic to stop. Red lights only apply to cars and so the streams of motorbikes hurtle towards you, beeping away. But the rule is quite simple. Walk across slowly always looking in the direction of the traffic. Don't stop and don't run and they all weave their way around you. It sure takes some getting used to but it works. So I crossed over to the lake and took a stroll down to shops in the Old Quarter. On the way preparations were well advanced for the forthcoming 1000 year anniversary of Hanoi. Spectacular light and laser shows were being prepared. At the far end of the Lake I came to Shoe Street where dozens of cobblers have set up shop. Turn left and you find opticians street, right again and you are in toy street, left and you are in Silk Street. Remarkable really and slightly unnerving as they all sell the same product for the same price (high compared to Saigon). Eating out is not a problem. Restaurants range from upmarket Asian Fusion to simple Pho cafes with set menus ranging from $10 to $35 per head. But it was time to see some golf courses and I had selected 4 that I wished to look at. Van Tri is the nearest to town, just 25 mins from the Hotel. It is a beautifully mani-

cured and presented course in the American style. Built mostly for the Party bosses and financed by Korean money it is Asian golf at its best. Many of the courses are Korean owned and I got a distinct impression that a European Tour Operator wasn't very welcome. King Island claimed they had a tournament and the club was closed and Phoenix said that they wouldn't welcome large European groups. But Tam Dao welcomed us with open arms and it was well worth the 75 minute drive out to the Tam Dao national park to see this majestic course. On the way back we also visited Dai Lai Star which is still not complete but will also be an excellent course when it opens in January, but apart from being down a very bumpy road it was also very tough. But as we will only be looking for a couple of courses near Hanoi Tam Dao and Van Tri are better than anything Saigon can offer. Hanoi has a lot more to see than a few shops and golf courses, such as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, and a couple of hours in a Cyclo taxi will both fascinate and terrify you. It is one of the nicest Asian cities I have visited but as usual Agent Orange had to move on. No visit to the North is complete without a trip to Halong Bay. If you thought Phang Nga Bay near Phuket, famous for James Bond Island was worth seeing then you ain't seen nothing yet. Although it was a long 3 hour drive down to the coast it wasn't wasted time. Rice paddies, buffalo, conical hats and strange narrow 3 storey houses with windows only at the front were excellent talking points. Some towns seemed to have no civic pride and others looked to be competing for Best Kept Village competitions. Why? But as we approached Halong the reason for the journey became apparent with the Karst mountains springing up out of the fields. We decided to try out Emeraude, a 34 cabin replica paddle steamer; a top of the range cruiser. There are many more traditional Junk style boats to choose from but most of the best are only 20 cabins. We need to be sure that we can take over one boat and as our groups to Vietnam are normally between 40 and 50 people we wouldn't want to be split up.


Registration was swift and as we were a couple of minutes late the boat had already left, but we were whisked out on a speed boat and taken up to the sun deck for our welcome drink. Our cases were taken to our cabins and we went straight to the restaurant for the lunch buffet, and very good it was. After lunch and back on deck the scenery was breathtaking. Huge limestone mountains rose up from the sea, covered with vegetation and surrounded by fishing boats and coracles from another era. Soon we pulled up in front of one particularly tall rock and we were invited to inspect the "Secret Grotto". We secret it certainly wasn't as veryboat on the bay was also there, but the disembarkation was orderly and the arrival was simple. First we climbed a couple of hundred steps and looked down on the busy scene and then we plunged into the grotto. It had been wonderfully laid out with easy paths and steps and was it worth the climb. Wookey Hole eat your heart out. This was a cavern of stalacmites and stalactites and extraordinary ceilings and weird formations that just went on and one. Cleverly lit and beautifully clean it was one of the highlights of my trip. If I was ever doubting the wisdom of coming down here this dispelled it. Back on board and more cruising through the magical scenery until we arrived at a floating fisherman's village. The little houses were built on floats and they all had generators and TVs. There was a school and a temple and a general store and the kids jumped from boat to house and back again with an agility that was quite remarkable. But this kind of voyeurism isn't really for me. I worry that the people only exist like this because of the tourists coming to buy their painted shells and donating money to the school and that if it wasn't for us they wouldn't be there. A bit of a chicken and egg situation like the Hill Tribes of Chiang Mai, but nevertheless it is an interesting way of life. We then moved around to another bay where we were able to go for a swim or do a bit of kayaking. The water was incredi-

The Monty

Halong Bay at Sunset

bly salty but refreshing and a good bit of exercise at the end of the day. After cocktails and a spring roll cooking class, dinner was served. Another delicious buffet in the convivial atmosphere of the restaurant enlivened by a group of French from Marseilles on a kind of group holiday from the department store where the wives all worked. They were right out of Are You Being Served crossed with Allo Allo! After dinner they showed the movie Indochine with Catherine Deneuve on the sun deck. Much of it was filmed around Halong Bay and its broad canvas of French colonial life in the 30's and 40's was a perfect movie for the location. In the morning we rose early as the boat slowly made its way back towards the town of Halong. After a good breakfast we sat on deck and read our books and took photos. Should it be included in the tour? Undoubtedly. The area is unique and worthy of its World Heritage Site status. Slowly we are crossing them off - Ancient Egypt, the Great Wall & Terracotta Warriors, Angkor Wat and now Halong Bay. Stick with it, there aren't too many more! Of course the drawback of the 3 hour drive down is the 3 hour drive back but we broke it with a visit to a huge Arts and Crafts factory with products made of marbles, silk, laquer and stones all made by the disabled. Normally I wouldn't dream of stop-

ping at a place like this, so obviously designed for tourists, but in this case I would make an exception. There really was something for everyone, even a hardened old cynic like me. In any case we also stopped at a golf course halfway back, Chi Linh Star, which was undoubtedly one of the VN's top courses but I think trying to play a game on the way back and then taking a late flight down to Da Nang would be too much in a day. So the shopping stop and an early flight seems sensible. Hanoi's airport is small and easy and we boarded our flights to Da Nang in no time. The flight is less than an hour and there we were driving through monsoon rains down past China Beach and Monkey Mountain and old US Airforce hangars on the road to Hoi An. Although Da Nang will soon have it's Hyatts and Meridiens it is not really a Greencard place and so we opted for the Victoria Hotel right on the beautiful beach about 5 kms outside the Heritage town of Hoi An. It's a small 4.5 Star hotel by our standard but just the kind of place we like for a long stay at the beach. The standard rooms are large but if you want beachfront suites and deluxe rooms they are lovely. The hotel has great restuarants and facilities and is a perfect complement to the neighbouring village of Hoi An. Just 10 mins by hotel mini van and you are transported to a world of chinese lanterns and little shops, mostly silk tailors or varying degrees of skill, but also many wonderful restaurants and bars. Touristy it most certainly is. Polperro in Asia. But the reason the tourists come here is because it is so beautiful. So you won't see many Vietnamese in the restaurants but you will be in a magical place. Whether we would make this a long stay would depend on the golf courses. The next day and the monsoon was still in full swing and luckily the rains just let up as we drove up to the Montgomerie Links. One immediately


knew that this was going to be just perfect for Greencard. I would have been happy just to play the Driving Range! But wide fir tree fringed fairways with white sand bunkers and large undulating greens were testimony to the fact that Monty is getting better at this art of course designing. Literally right next door is the Greg Norman Da Nang Golf Club. Although not quite finished, all 18 holes are open for play if you know the right people. Although I knew Howie Roberts, the Golf Director, from his time in Egypt I didn't play as the rains were pouring down again. But this was a top class links course. In complete contrast to the Monty, Greg has narrowed the fairways and used the natural contours of the

dunes to make positioning off the tee a premium. Well protected and smaller greens will make this a real challenge but one that can be conquered. Both these courses are exactly what I hoped for and more. Two rounds on each will be a great way to end our tournament in North Vietnam and if beach isn't your thing you can always play again or visit Mai Son temples or spend a day or two browsing through the boutiques of Hoi An. Take a river trip or a boat trip out to the islands. Finally to really cap off a tour to North Vietnam you should try and visit Hue. The 3 hour drive from Da Nang over the mountains, or through the tunnel if there is low cloud, is beautiful. Hue is the ancient capi-

tal of Royal Vietnam and the citadel and Forbidden City, although very badly damaged in the various wars, is still well worth a visit. The hotel La Residence overlooks the Perfumed River that divides the town and is a marvellous Art Deco palace that was once the French governor's home. From Hue and Da Nang you can fly easily back to Hanoi or Saigon to catch your flight home. We will be including North Vietnam in our 2012 programme, arriving on 29th January. Expect it to be a little cooler than Thailand or Saigon with temperatures as low as 16C but they can also be in the mid 20's and down in Da Nang in the high 20's. This is perfect golfing weather, with very little rain, but it might not be all day, every day sunbathing weather.

FINAL TOUR POINTS TABLE Lewis John Bill Peter Richard Julie Ian Leonard Russell Anthony Colin Neil Christopher John Peter Roger Jeannie Alan Martin Elizabeth Reuben Ian Brian Geoff Paul Paul Sandie Alan Neil Julie Dee Sally Malcolm Gary Glenn Geoffrey Neil Janette Martyn Gary Sue Seamus Jackie Anne Anne Neil Geoffrey Frank Dave John

Mosse Shearan Coupe Sumner Burke Harris Robinson Peifer Smit Trafford Robinson Gillam Hegarty Mac Quinn Hunt O'Keeffe Baxter Fell Fern Fielding Harris Haynes Hill Holyhead Kaye Klimcke Orritt Ratcliffe Rotchell Shotton Ward Buchanan Coleman Harris Henney Bamber Brown Cole Corbett Mawhinney McConalogue Bleakley Bridges Laming McGarva McKeown Ryan Simpson Ward

12 6 7 7 12 14 6 8 4 15 10 9 9 8 18 10 5 6 6 10 12 8 11 10 14 6 12 10 7 12 20 26 11 18 13 4 6 16 8 8 19 8 16 5 15 6 9 21 16 14

27 26 22 22 17 17 17 16 16 16 14 13 13 13 13 12 12 11 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7

Teignmouth Co Louth Lancaster South Herts GC Santa Maria Domaine Imperial Rufford Park Santa Maria Woburn Weston Park Malton & Norton Wentworth Chorlton-cu-Hardy Greenore Wrag Barn Hankley Common Mere Copt Heath Willesley Park Tytherington Domaine Imperial Sundridge Park Hollinwell Nelson Brough Clandon Regis Penwortham Derby Monmouthshire Woburn Shaw Hill Preston Elsham Wellingborough Woodbridge Preston Nelson Bowood Mere Woodcote Park Ballyliffin Birchwood Kilmacolm Channels Royal Dublin Sundridge Park Shaw Hill

Kathleen Richard Neil Keith Tim Tony David John Joe Jackie Philip Neil Sharon Gordon Wallace Val Peter Stella Russell Chris Marian Simon Inge Maggie Thomas Rosie Linda Melvyn Gwynneth Laurence Godfrey Robert Simon Rosemary Julia Anne Geoff Barry Paul C Jenny Su Malcolm Elspeth Ann-Marie Oliver Gail Brian Diana Roger Lodewijk

Birdsall Bleakley Dangerfield Dawkins Elliott Marshall Newmarch O'Keeffe Warren Carter Crossland Dalton Fell Geddes Grace Smyth Turton Brewin Garrington Lord Martin Ormerod Steinle Stevenson Bolger Chisholm Hill Crossland Fern Fielding Graham Horsford Kerr Klimcke Milton Allen Archer Bickerton Birdsall Speakman Staines Worthington Baker Baxter Coleman Egan Hegarty Henderson Hudson Lascelles Schlingemann

23 14 27 17 15 13 16 12 13 13 14 13 30 12 18 3 17 16 10 14 18 13 19 17 11 9 15 13 19 5 12 6 17 17 26 10 3 14 9 21 6 9 23 5 15 14 4 8 14 18

6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Woburn North Wales La Moye Hankley Common Wildwood Abridge The Wisley Co Louth Rufford Park Southport O Links Meon Valley Redditch Wrag Barn Ham Manor Co Louth Torksey Burton-On-Trent Moortown Santa Maria Shaw Hill Santa Maria Ham Manor Ifield Southport O Links Willesley Park Davenport Royal Guernsey St Ives Troon Welbeck Clandon Regis Royal Mid Surrey Langley Park Ipswich Golf del Sur Woburn Workington Bishop Stortford Bristol & Clifton East Devon Mere Elsham Chorlton-c-Hardy St Andrews Royal Guernsey Moscow CC


THE GRAND FINALS MUST MOVE WITH THE TIMES For many years now we have been aware that all is not well with the Grand Finals. La Manga Club, the home for 25 years was a superb venue at a time when people considered a golfing week in Spain to be the highlight of the year’s golfing calendar. But that is no longer the case. Our clients qualify for the Finals at superb venues all over the world. Five star accommodation and Championship courses. It is thus unworthy to hold the finals at a venue that fails to match these standards.

“…..whereas the £18,000 budget used to buy €27,000 it now only buys €20,000

.”

The constraints however are many. On average there will be two winners per event. If we increase the cost of the Free Holiday then that cost must be loaded onto the cost of the events throughout the year. We feel that cost is high enough. As one not so competitive client told me he wouldn’t be coming back because he didn’t see why he should pay for others to have a free trip. He has a point but only if that cost becomes excessive. Also whereas the £18,000 budget used to buy €27,000 it now only buys €20,000 and it is for this reason that we found ourselves at Vila Sol instead of Monte Rei. In 2005 we tried taking the Tour Finals to Abu Dhabi. Many people remember it as one of the best Greencard events ever. But the problem was that having struck the deal, the hotel spent the rest of the year trying to extricate itself. When we negotiated the deal Abu Dhabi was a quiet backwater near Dubai. Within a year it had taken off. Hotel rates were soaring and the Rotana Beach Towers were desperately unhappy to be tied in to our deal. They used every trick in the book to bend the rules and in the end the trip cost us way over the budget. We have also rejected the idea of giving people a £500 or £600 voucher that can only be used on the Finals, and then taking the venue to somewhere expensive. It is vital that no one who wins a place should be excluded. So we have decided to exclude the flights from the trip and increase the amount spent on hotel and green fees. We must never lose sight of the fact that not everyone who qualifies is a millionaire. It would be defeating the purpose of the

event if half the qualifiers failed to attend. In any case nearly all our qualifiers already spend a considerable sum of money upgrading to the hotel accommodation and single rooms. Far better for them to pay for their flights and then have a genuine Free holiday with some added frills. So in reality we are locked into Spain or Portugal where flights are affordable to all. People want better courses and a variety. So I spent most of the week in Portugal in meetings with hotels and course owners to see if we can draw up an agreement for a long term deal that enables us to play on the best courses and stay in top class accommodation. All within our budget that will of course be improved by injecting the average flight cost. Whilst Spain does have some excellent courses the affordable ones tend to be in areas with precious little nightlife and restaurants. I am thinking the Sotogrande, Almenara, San Roque area. To return to La Manga would be a step backwards. Whereas Portugal has the 3 Quinta do Lago courses all close to great accommodation and a short drive to some superb restaurants and the nightlife around Vilamoura. In addition to these there are the Oceanica courses— Faldo, O’Connor, Victoria and of course the Old Course at Vilamoura. Oceanica also owns substantial amounts of accommodation, hotels and apartments. So we have entered into serious negotiations to see if we can find a partner for the coming years who really wishes to be associated with our event. Not just because times are hard now but because they genuinely want to see some great golf played by a large group at a quiet time of year every year. We will keep you informed of progress. We most certainly haven’t ruled out other destinations but in terms of affordable flights and the time of year it really seems that Malaga and Faro are the only realistic alternatives. Watch this space.

PUTTING THE CLOCK ON SLOW PLAY Almost since the day I started running golf tournaments the question of Slow Play has been a burning issue. No amount of exhortations and threats have made an ounce of difference as the time taken to complete a Greencard tournament round has moved inexorably towards the 5 hours. It would now be unusual for the last groups to finish in under 5 hours. It is painful in the extreme and I believe it can have a serious effect on our business. There is only so many 5 hour rounds that one man can take. So what to do? How do you make people change their habits? Because in the end we are all guilty of little quirks and habits that slow us up. Most of us are aware of the problem and concentrate on one aspect whilst ignoring another and we are too polite to complain when we see others dallying.. I believe that the time for cajoling and begging is over. I remember that way back in the early 90’s Theydon Bois GC in Essex decided to put a Clocking On machine on the 1st tee and a Clocking Off machine by the 18th green. Any group that took more than 4 hrs were suspended for a month. The effect was breathtaking. Suddenly people discovered that they were in fact able to play quicker without ruining their games. Now I don’t believe that you can change people from tortoises to hares overnight but I do believe that we can start by targeting 4hrs 45 mins as a tournament maximum. So the first group of the day that fails to complete their round within that time frame will automatically get a yellow card. Two yellow cards and it is a 2 shot penalty. Obviously this doesn’t apply to the people following them. Something has to be done and only by having an unarguable standard can we hope to achieve an improvement. You can expect to be on the clock next year. Who knows maybe the year after we can try 4hr 40!!


TAKING US FOR A RYDER I am not sure whether the world’s most renowned seed merchant, Sam Ryder, realised what he was starting when he announced the eponymous competition. Back then in 1927 golf was a game with few superstars. The British team that came to Worcester, Massachusetts only to be thrashed 9 1/2—2 1/2 was made up of virtual unknowns to the other side of the Pond apart from Ted Ray. The Americans on the other hand were captained by Walter Hagen with Gene Sarazen as his sidekick. In fact had it not been for the fact that a relative unknown, George Duncan, the GB captain, thrashed the great Walter Hagen at Moortown by 10 & 8 in 1929 it is possible that the matches might have died a death. But by the time of the 1937 matches both teams had assembled star casts

TURKEY DATE CHANGE—7TH TO 14TH MAY The combination of British Airways and ThomsonFly pulling out of the Antalya route left us stranded with precious few flight options for our Turkey trip to the Gloria in May. And then Cyprus Turkish Airlines went bust! For 10 years Sunday to Sunday has been the best option for Antalya but not anymore. With effectively only Easyjet and Thomas Cook on the route and rumours that Monarch might come in and take up the slack it seems that Saturday to Saturday is now favourite.

including Percy Alliss, Henry Cotton & Dai Rees for GB and Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson for the USA.

cant decisions was that the European Tour would get to choose the venue every 8 years. The PGA would choose it on the other European years.

But the results were depressingly familiar. It didn’t matter which side of the Pond it was played GB was thrashed. By 1981 at Walton Heath, the first matches that I attended, such was the politics in the PGA that GB & Europe felt that they could dispense with Seve for playing somewhere they didn’t approve. Ranged against a US team that included Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Ray Floyd, Johnny Miller & Hale Irwin we fielded such heavyweights as Howard Clark and Mark James. It was embarrassing and we lost 18 1/2—9 1/2.

Let’s look at where the European Tour has chosen: Valderrama, K Club and Gleneagles. Compare and contrast that with the PGA’s choice of The Belfry, The Belfry, The Belfry and Celtic Manor.

It was not long after this that the European Tour decided that if Europe was going to use players honed on their Tour then their Tour should have more say about the event. One of the most signifi-

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR It has been quite a momentous year at Greencard. It began with us feeling distinctly sea sick from the effects of an undermanned cruise on Sea Cloud. Then just as the seas were becoming calmer the air above was filled with volcanic ash. Huge thanks should go to Richard Munroe and our long time Portuguese agent Domitilia for rescheduling dozens of holidays and ensuring refunds.

There is a Monarch flight on 6th May from Manchester returning late 13th which would enable you to leave after prize giving.

But as the year went on the sun came out. Gordon was banished and the Pound stopped falling. The coalition looks to have found its feet and the UK will begin the long and winding road back to economic stability. It will take some time but the I do believe the worst is now behind us. Real rates of return can be obtained from some very safe Blue Chip companies and the housing market seems to be in an orderly retreat, which is a pre-condition for real recovery.

If you have any difficulty simply contact the office for assistance as we can access all flights. Apologies for the change but BA and others are withdrawing in the face of the recession.

So both of the Richards (or the two Dicks if you prefer) would like to join in wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a birdie filled New Year. Preferably on a Greencard Golf Holiday.

So we have moved the dates one day earlier. Tee times were a bit of an issue as we wanted two Old and two New course rounds, so on the Thursday—Round Three—the start time is at 12.00. But apart from this there is no difference.

The drama on that fabulous Monday at Celtic Manor had absolutely nothing to do with the course and everything to do with the history of the event. Oh that it could have been played on a course worthy of such drama instead of a piece of sheep grazing hilly Welsh motorway verge. The Ryder Cup does not need to sell itself to the highest bidder. It is time that the PGA recognised that the event has outgrown them and they should hand it over to the real Pros, lock, stock and Grahame McDowell’s smoking putter.

QATAR AIRWAYS SEAT SALE From now until 30th November Qatar Airways has a fantastic seat sale. Book for travel from Manchester or London to Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur for travel before 31 Jan with prices from £538 to KL.

JOHN NEWARK It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of John Newark. He died in October in his sleep having attended an Irish wedding. Most of us would consider this the Club Class exit, to be surpassed only by expiring from the exultation of holing a bunker shot on the 18th to beat the Club Champion. But my heart goes out to Margaret, his widow. John was much more to me than just a Greencard client. He and Margaret have taken a great interest in the ongoing saga of the Vine family. They even on one occasion allowed us to stay in their apartment when I feared that our lives were in danger at home. On another occasion John wrote that he had attended his last event because Greencard had become too competitive. I replied that without him dinner times would be a more arid place as he was one of the few who could pass an evening without mentioning golf. He returned, many times, and I shall miss him.

Golfer Nov 2010  

Greencard news of past and upcoming events.

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