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Sunday, 17 January 2016 15:55

Lotus Valley and Royal Hills Tour 11-14 Jan Featured

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With a cozy group of 12 players heading off to the beautiful courses at Lotus Valley and Royal Hills, we set off early Monday morning first for Lotus Valley where our first group tee'd off just after 11.30. The course was in fabulous condition, and the staff were all great and the caddy's (in general) a fair bit friendlier and attentive than at the average Pattaya outing. Personally, I had a beautiful, young, friendly and attentive caddy, and she was excellent on reads as well - a rare combination to find at any golf course! I'd definately keep her number for a next trip to Lotus Valley! As it turned out, 3 players were tied on day 1 at 34 points, with George Scott being 3rd, Andre Coetzee 2nd and Fidge Button winning on countback.

 Andre and Frenchie with caddy

Frenchie and Andre with a great young caddy - Lotus Valley

After golf, we drove a Google Maps inspired route to Royal Hills, which took just under an hour. Seems that Google Maps was smart enough to avoid the pot hole filled route which one would normally take, and even with 9 people in the bus listening to Sugar Ray's music compilation, the ride felt pretty smooth and quick but by the time we got there, the esky was empty and everyone piled into 7/11 to fill up with a good supply of stock for the the next 3 nights at Royal Hills. Being a small'ish group on tour isn't always a bad thing, and we had a nice cozy group of 12 having dinner together. Steve Plant brought 3 bottles of wine which he picked up at a bargain from the Player's Lounge, but as it turned out, the 3 bottles of wine didn't even make it half way through the evening, and consensus is that we blame Sugar Ray for that as his Aussie way is to fill the wine glass completely to the brim!

Steve Mann ice cream

Better to show Steve Mann eating ice cream than his swing picture... LOL - At Royal Hills

Next morning, we tee'd off at 9.30am from the white tee's, where the lads were following a couple of bright young Korean scratch golfers playing from the Black tee's. Kim Danboisy did his absolute best to pick up tips from these guys wherever his group caught up with them, to the extend that he spend hours even after the game trying to gain some skill from the young pro's on the putting green. It worked for that day at least, and Kim managed to gain a lead with a great 37 points on the day. My game also held together somewhat, and playing off 8 I managed to get a respectible 36 points. The rest of the guys didn't do so well, and 3rd place was captured by Steven Mann who only had 31 points.

Group photo

Ready for golf on day two - at Royal Hills

Third day, and someone (i.e. me) had the stupid idea to play from the blues, "just to mix things up a bit". It seemed rational at the time, since a good 1/3 of tee's were white and blue  together anyway, and I thought it would help the higher handicappers a bit since the got 3 extra shots on the slope and index, compared to the 1 shot that a low handicapper like myself got. It turned out to be a hard day, with both myself and Kim falling completely out the bus, with only 22 points each. Mickey Leighton captured 3rd with 30 points, Steve Mann loosing on countback to Steve Plant who ended up as the victor with 31 points. Another evening with good food, a couple of wine bottles with the Broom boys, and more ice cream for the two Steve's followed that evening.

Mickey explaining to TC

Mickey Explaining something important to TC.... - Royal Hills Day 3

On to the fourth day and an early breakfast and check out before we set off just before 8am back to Lotus Valley. Again playing off the blues, Lotus Valley seems like a great course to play a bit longer, since there aren't any carries that a short hitter cant reach. The only challenge off the blues is off course the 215yrd par 3, 17th hole, which was long and raised a few eyebrows. Order of play was based on standings after the 1st Lotus Valley and the best of Royal Hills rounds, and at this stage Andre was leading Kim Danboise by two shots. Both of us had good front nines, but Kim was in the lead on the back nine and really turned on the pressure on the overall standings with a great birdie on the 14th hole to get within a shot and then drew level with a net par on hole 15. A bogey compared to my net birdie on hole 16 give me a 2 shot cushion again, but on the long 17th par 3, Kim had an excellent chip and putt to score a 3 (net birdie). My tee shot was badly blocked and almost in the water 40yrds right of the green and I was lucky to even get my 2nd shot onto the green, and then to finish with a net bogey. So once again the game was drawn and all came to the last hole, with the advantage to Kim on countback. Playing safely (for a change in character), I just used a 6 iron for my 2nd shot and then had a 100yrds shot in. From there a par was achieved. Kim came a bit short with his 3rd, but was on the green for 4 with a 10 foot breaking putt needed to win overall. Kim missed which still resulted in him winning the day, beating Mickey Leighton on countback with 34, with Andre 3rd at 33pts. 

Final Day group 3

The leading 4 on day 4 - At Lotus Valley 

In the overall standings, Andre won by a shot with 103 pts, beating Kim on 102 and George Scott with 94. Fourth was Frenchie with 92 pts.

Winners Picture

And the winners... Fidge Button (Day 1), Andre Coetzee (Overall), Kim Danboise (Day 2 and 4), Steve Plant (Day 3)

It was a great little tour with an exciting finish (at least for me), and it sets a good platform for future tours. If you are interested, we are conducting another short tour from 16-18Feb to Soi Dao and Kabinburi. Read about it here

And some swing pictures:

Fidge swing

Frenchie Swing

Mickey Swing

TC Swing

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