Malling Area Golf Society

Euro Tour 2022 - Turkey, Belek

Token

Captain's Report

So, after several false dawns Turkey Tour Twenty Twenty, finally became Turkey Tour Twenty Twenty -Two.

As such It was such a joy to finally see Stevie (do bears?) Totts come gambolling into the R V P of Weatherspoon’s at Gatwick skipping like a spring lamb and finally catching up with the tour party, having made it through the interminable security system at Gatwick.

Now we were off, all present and reasonably correct.

 

The Turkish airlines flight was slightly delayed (although very lovely). That coupled with the time difference of two hours, we left the pub at breakfast and finally arrived at the hotel just in time for dinner!

At the pub in Gatwick, I had handed out the Rowan Tours welcome pack, containing the tour itinerary and rules, with a welcome cash refund bonus and the Tour Token (ball marker) which had to be produced when asked for at any time, or suffer to a tour fine (with all proceeds going to charity).

The first fine was issued before we reached the hotel as (simple) Simon Muir managed to lose his on the plane!

We arrived at the very impressive Sueno Golf hotel to a boisterous reception, as it was the final matches of the premier league being played out on TV to the existing guests. We were all ushered off to the free bar to watch whilst rooms, clubs and cases were all being sorted out and distributed by a very efficient team at Sueno Golf.

A few of us missed the memo about not going mad on the first night and for some it was a messy three o clocker before bed and the first tee at eight!

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we arrived at the first of the two courses attached to the hotel, the Pines course, resplendent in our red and blue team shirts in the glorious morning sunshine. Aiming for the middle ball, I was surprised to hit a magnificent drive off the first tee and the tour proper had started. Sadly, the rest of the hole and indeed the round gradually unravelled and I ended up carding a woeful 19.

As ever we were noting the lost ball count for the traditional and this year free to enter, sweepstake. The first round sets down our marker and we make our predictions for the following three-day count. After last year’s mystery winner was finally tracked down to Dean (pest) Priestman blue leader Verga had given us all individual slips on which to enter our guesses, with the closest scooping the £100 prize pot. The first round we offered 65 balls up to the golf gods as sacrifice between the 20 of us, so I hoped when sober, we may improve and put my guess in at 143. The course as should have been noted by its title is set amongst pine woodland with undulating tight fairways, interspersed with water hazards and the odd sand pit in which to place the unwary, overconfident, or just a bit crap.

As a result of the excess excitement from the night before, some of us were feeling slightly seasick by the end of some furious buggy operating over the hills valleys of the fairways

 

As ever there were those who managed to triumph through such adversity, most notably Chris (lofty) Lewis who all week (apart from one exception, more of which later) seemed to play cool calm and collected like a well-oiled machine, rather than just being well oiled.

Chris took the top blue position with 33 points narrowly beating Sean Downs and Michael Bourner both with 32. With Blue Leader Verga just behind them on 29

The top red spot-on day one was won by Gary Kisby shared with Pest Priestman on 31 points narrowly beating messers Damper and Pinch on 28.

All daily winners enjoying their top spot cash prize, which with a free bar was unusually for a Mags tour, not re invested on the night!

The handicaps were adjusted based on a course score expectation, with the first days target being calculated (by me using some complex algorithms and a few chicken entrails) as 25. Above or below this score meant your following days handicap was adjusted accordingly based on your mags league of .1 .2 or.3 per point over / under with no buffer. Thanks to Gary Kisby who helped a slightly weary Red Leader input the data on the first day and iron out some IT bugs.

The average points scored was 24 so the target wasn’t too far out.  The red team ended the day on 236 points with the blues in the lead with 243. Before we started the totals of the shots received were 199 for red and a massive 206 for blues so the difference seemed appropriate.

 

A mention now should be made of the courses and the hotel(s) all of which were excellent. Having experienced a full day on site and enjoyed the hospitality and wealth of choice on offer I can easily say it’s the best hotel we have stayed in for a mags tour in my experience and the value for money was excellent. The Golf hotel had everything we could hope for with two great courses and very good facilities. Two minutes away by free shuttle buggy was the sister hotel the deluxe, which as with the Pines lived up to every part of its title, the food, drinks and service were superb in my opinion and whereas with some all inclusive deals they turn out to be not quite as good as expected, this went above and beyond what I had imagined with some additional flourishes exceeding expectations! There was certainly plenty of choice day and night and there must have been something for everyone!

 

Day two after a Red team briefing and some selective training to improve stamina (pint lifts) and the urging of a quieter night (for some) saw us with a later tee time and more rest playing at the adjoining course over the lake the Dunes.

 

Notionally slightly easier looking at slope indexation the target for the day was 27 points, now we had become acclimatised to the heat and playing conditions. The order of play was now based on the scores for each team, with the highest going out in the first group so I had quite a wait until group 4. That did give me a little time to look out for the wildlife I had been told about by the other players as there were many hooded crows and woodpeckers I saw as well as the massive Koi in the hotel lakes. Gary Kisby had a rather too close encounter with a (reportedly huge) tree snake dropping to the ground during a call of nature and Stevie Totts evidently saw a Black lab with a brown head which smelled of curry?

 

My round once again started off rather well with a birdie on the first and third holes and indeed the improved visual acuity I had gained was paying off and I made the turn to the back nine with a very smug 22 on the card for the front nine!

Did anyone see the Lord Mayors show? well I left somewhat disheartened with a final score of 30 and the least said about the back nine the better, such a cruel game.

I did however have a great round with Tim on superb driving duties (buggy rather than club sadly) and in the blue team Moore senior and Tich Burbridge who joined me exploring the woodland and some lesser used Anglo Saxon plus the occasional hearty laugh.

Assuming my carefully calculated target of 27 was likely to be a mile out I was pleased to note an average for the day of 26, so had I carried on with any degree of skill through the back nine could have done so much better.

The winners on the day were again for the blues Chris Lewis and for the reds Gary Kisby with 36 and 33 points respectively. With Adrian (Hira Jetski) Harvanko Jarvis for the blues and Pest Priestman and pinch all on 32 in second places. The fist scoring lost ball count was 64 so not too dissimilar to day one sadly for those of us who hoped for some improvement (this did not include all the ones we recovered from the margins of the water only those lost in the deep!). the coaching and practice had clearly paid off and the red team were now ahead by 40 from a day one deficit.

 

With two days of rest laying before us many of the touring party went off for some intensive practice sadly only a few practised golf the majority opting for the sunbed or bar work improvement sessions.

One intrepid fourball of Lewis Parker Downs and Muir did venture off to another course and between thunderstorms evidently enjoyed a very good round in some lovely surroundings meanwhile back at Sueno golf the fines were mounting up. Pest had managed to throw his token into the sea and several other fell foul to Dave’s rigorous approach to enforcement in all departments. Well done Dave good effort. Other than the basic missing token fines some notable penalties were issued for the following misdemeanours ranked in order of severity

1.G Kisby found guilty of spilling a drink, defence of “only Baileys” not accepted.

2.S Tothill Dog poisoning, jury took notice of plea of guilt and full confession medical reports awaited.

3.D Verga found guilty of requiring security to be escorted home, when all other attempts had failed, 142 other offences of similar nature taken into account. Supplementary charges of crimes against toilet seats dropped.

4.Grimes whining after midnight (fine doubled) point 3 above taken into consideration as mitigation.

5.Rowan excessive abuse specifically - Language, Club, Alcohol and Self. Defence of too many scoucers to be polite or sober inadmissible.

6.Lewis being too good (repeat offender)

 

So, with a rapidly filling charity pot we set off for round three.

 

Back to Pines – the first group of day two winners Kisby, Pinch, Lewis and Harvanko-Jarvis set us all off for a late morning tee, to see if we could improve on our first outing to the woods. We were again targeting a minimum score of 25. Coming back with a group average of 26 we may just have learned something (with a few notable exceptions).

I was out with Messer Priestman, Bourner and Downs and my own round was pretty poor, returning a 21, the energy again dropping off (from a fairly low start anyway) in the heat of the Turkish sun! Priestman, Bourner and Downs carding a 27, 24 and 22 doing a bit better.

Some familiar names for winner of the day with Mark Moore just edging out Chris lewis with a 34 for the blues but a splendid 37 from Phil Parker in the red team with the reds now cut back to a 33-point lead. The lost ball count notched up another sixty plus so the hazards were still taking their tolls.

 

Day four the charity pink ball day started off on the tee in reverse order with the “group of Death “off first. Burbridge and Farley for the blue team had the honour of teeing off with the pink ball at 09.15 and along with Grimes and Tothill for the reds. I had the honour of partnering Mr Parsons in the group three red team and the blue opposition for the round was Verga and Moore senior in the increasing heat there were occasional bouts of golf breaking out amongst the constant need for hydration and a few will to live moments when arriving on the next tee and remembering what a swine of a hole it had been the previous time we played it then the same “why did I just do that” when you played the same shot again in the mistaken belief something else may happen. Even the power of prayer had started to fail Blue Leader Verga for ten holes he hit trees and got a saviours bounce back into the middle but now the dark tree gods took over and waywardness was punished appropriately. I had a similar round to the first excursion to the dunes course except for being able to score well on the front nine! the back nine was barely adequate until the 18th over the water in front of the clubhouse and I miraculously pulled off a long putt for a par. Just the sort of hole which cancels the ebay buyer collects advert for some crap clubs and makes you want to return.

Who knows what the future holds for mags European travel but personally I believe this to have been the best value, probably best courses, best hotel, and smoothest running of all the trips I have been involved in. We all got there, we all came back, we all played golf in between apart from a nine-hole injury to Mr Bourner or at least had a go. Everyone seemed to be reasonably happy (for mags anyway) and I heard very little moaning and none sufficiently loud or persistent enough to take into consideration. I hope you all felt the same and I thank you for making this a very pleasant trip.

Now the closing stats

Winner of day 4 red team Luke Moore, Blues Adrian Harvanko Jarvis with 33 and 34 narrowly shading out Tothill on 33 (whatever the blockage was must have cleared?) and the machine Lewis who having hit 2 duff shots in a row was seen to beat the ground and indulge in some loss of composure (how the other half suffer eh)

Winner overall with 133 points Chris Lewis who started the week at 14 and ended playing off 11.5 well done Chris it was good to watch and you well deserved it. You even managed the early morning session for first day and still played so well.

Runner up with 126 Gary Kisby well done slippery despite several attempts at alcohol poisoning you just kept going and going.

The pink ball competition raised £100 for Steve Farley’s charity for equipment for special needs children and whilst we don’t have a wooden spoon award I think this a fitting tribute. Admirable persistence despite heart surgery requiring a piggy re bore and the nightly joys of sharing with Mr Verga what resilience!

The pink ball was also supposed to add to the team scores with a weighted number of points depending on when the ball was lost so brilliant effort to both teams who nursed it all the way around but I’m afraid it was a dead rubber as at the end of day four the reds were fifty points ahead what a great team effort that’s two out of two so far! (Who chooses these teams?)

The lost ball sweepstake was won by Mr Parker with a prediction of 179 being the closest to the day 2,3 and 4 total of 179 balls. Adding in day one we lost 236 balls in total and average of 59 a day and just shy of 12 each!

Most importantly for me, the fine system raised 300 pounds for Mc Millan cancer nurses which was very generously added to by Chris Lewis and topped up to £350. Thank you all for your generous support.

PIP PIP roddy (head of Entertainment and complaints) Rowan Tours

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