Aaron Martin wins Saturday Grafton Stableford

One of the biggest fields for many years, contested last Saturday’s Barry Jones Smash Repairs single Stableford, with just under 140 players taking advantage of both the excellent course conditions, together with pleasant golfing weather conditions. Add to the men’s field at least 28 ladies who contested the Saturday women’s competition, the course has not accommodated so many players at one time for a long time. 

Despite those numbers the course was not nearly over-crowded, and all players observed the social distancing protocols that are currently in place. 

All grades were well represented with A Grade attracting 25 starters, B Grade 44 players, C Grade 32 golfers with the D Grade contingent made up of 35 golfers. 

It was a visitor from Maclean Golf Club who took out the overall honours, Aaron Martin (22) completed the 18 holes with a very impressive 43 points, 3 points clear of his nearest rival, Jordan Weller (30) who finished on 40 and claimed the win in D Grade, a just reward. 

It required a countback to sort out A Grade with both Greg Robertson (8) and Peter Sinclair (8) finishing with 38 points. Greg was eventually declared the winner of that grade. 

Only two points separated the B Grade winners with Paul Grieve (13) the leader of that grade with 39 points from Greg Tozer (14) on 37. The highlight of Bob Turns (19) round of 39 points were the three successive birdies on hole 4/5 & 6, which resulted in him taking out C grade four points clear of the runner-up, Gary Cook (16) on 35. 

In the Pro ball rundown, 10 players completed their rounds with 33 points of the 10, only 5 received a pro-ball as well as those with 34 or better.  

Not only are the Saturday fields going from strength to strength, the mid-week fields are also remaining strong. Last Tuesday 108 starters contested the Stableford event. A visitor from the Port Macquarie Golf Club was the best on the day with 40 points. Adam Atkins (9) found our course obviously to his liking in accumulating his 40. A five-way c/b was required to determine the r/up positions. In the end it was Craig Langford (8) who was awarded the first r/up position with Graeme Lynn (17) claiming the 2nd r/up spot, both on 39. Missing out on featuring on the day also with 39 were Geoff Crispin (13), Tim Newsome (14), and another Port Macquarie visitor Dale Hyde (10). 

From the 17 players on 31 seven were awarded with a pro-ball as did those on better than 31. 

The Thursday competition, being the Tallowood Challenge, and a Stroke event, the numbers taking part fell away a little with just under 50 starters. At the completion of play, Ron Hulm (17) was declared the winner with 72 nett from Ron Phillips (16) and Bill Blaikie (15) on 73 and 75 respectively. Pro-balls going down to those players with 80 nett or better.

Next Saturday’s competition will again be a single Stableford, not the mixed American foursome as advertised in the programme book (a casualty of the coronavirus). As well the event will serve as the qualifier for the Grafton Undercover Storage singles knockout. On this occasion only the number of players to proceed to the knockout series has been reduced from 32 to 16 to enable the series to be completed within a reasonable time. 

Dates for the two remaining knockout series have also been confirmed. The qualifier for the Grafton Glass (Dennis Pye) two-man Ambrose series is to be held on June 13. The annual 4BBB qualifier is to take place on July 4 (Don Bellamy Memorial Day). Only the top 16 combinations to proceed to the knockout proper in both series.

There has been a significant change to the Veteran’s competition scheduled for next Tuesday. In the programme book it is shown as being a 9.30am shot gun start. On advice received from the Veteran’s Captain, Ron Baker, the shotgun start will not apply. The normal nominations for the event will revert to on-line nominations only as required by the current restrictions.

At their last meeting, the match committee has resolved to amend the current conditions relating to preferred lies. Fairways only is when the preferred lie playing conditions can be applied. In the entire general area (fairways and rough) a penalty free drop can be taken should you find yourself on an area of bare or rocky ground condition. Preferred lies not permitted in the rough. 

Due to the current restrictions, bunkers remain in play and if required a preferred lie in that circumstance is permitted. Although there is some relaxation of conditions relating to the Coronavirus, the social distancing requirements remain in place and must be strictly observed. This applies not only on course, but in the Pro-shop as well. 

The Club itself will remain closed until further notice, however the locker rooms remain open to allow access to the toilet facilities. Hopefully, we will return to some form of normality, sooner rather than later.

Ray Hopwood