May 5, 2013

2013 Mens Pennant Round 7 vs LaTrobe at Kingston Heath Golf Club

7 from 7.............Simply the BEST!!


Good evening wonderful Cheltenham sponsors and supporters!!

 If I asked the large contingent of 'Loyals' who were out at Kingston Heath today to describe the 4/3 win against the Latrobe Golf Club in one word, I would have no doubt that the term 'nailbiting' would be up there!

 The contest could have gone either way as it seemed that one minute Cheltie were going well and the next we were staring down the barrel - it was just one of those contests in which no player on either side was willing to concede - 14 players played their guts out for their clubs in the best possible spirit and surely this is truly what Pennant golf is all about - every player in this contest can be truly proud of how they represented their clubs today!

 This weeks tagline of 7 from 7 - Simply the BEST really sums up Chelties historic debut in Division 2 - we have been the best team all year and have achieved some magnificent milestones. One amazing milestone is that of one of our Young Guns in Brad Kivimets - going unbeaten for another season but this time in Division 2 - an historic, stunning and incredible record for such a young player - Brad, your team mates, caddies, sponsors, in fact the whole club is stoked and immensely proud of this amazing achievement - good on you Brad!

Before I go into a little more detail about the day, here is the ladder and the results…………

Photos on Facebook  and Google Plus

 The Division 2 Flag will now be played between our neighbours at Victoria Golf Club at the Yarra Yarra Golf club on Sunday, 19th May - 8.00am, 1st Tee - what an incredible contest between 'close cousins' and an amazing result for Bayside and for golf!

 In case you are wondering, in Divvy 1 next year, Sanctuary Lakes and Waverley will be replaced by Cheltenham and Victoria and the clubs we will compete against are shown below - we look forward to Chelties 'bus trip' to The Heritage - three 48 seaters for our Goldie's might be required!!

 As this is the last 'home and away' newsletter for 2013, please bear with me as I provide a little preamble, well...... a long preamble but you know how much we need to cover! After last week’s magnificent home win, there were not too many 'dry eyes' in the club - I had never witnessed so many 'man hugs' in my life as Cheltie rewrote history and we found ourselves in Divvy 1.

 The win last week was almost indescribable and the feeling of intense pride in our boys and what they had achieved for themselves and our club just 'washed over and over and over and over me' for most of the week - an amazing feeling of euphoria which I know many of you will relate to!

 Talking of euphoria, every quarter, we hold a new members induction and on Friday night a dozen of the 30+ new members attended the club for their induction to 'Cheltie'. I honestly had to hold back the tears when I spoke about our squads and our club and what all of us have achieved. I know some members think that my passion for this joint is extreme, but that is how I am and I am never ashamed to show my feelings about my love of our club and to share that passion with every single member - new or old - or in fact; with any other club!

 Having said that and after coming off an emotional week, the game today against Latrobe was always going to be a ‘dead rubber’ for Cheltie but I still considered it another 'danger game' as Latrobe were fighting with 3 other clubs to stay in Divvy 2 and had a lot to play for. But, our boys still had plenty to play for too and a few 'things' were on offer including an undefeated Division 2 season, beating Latrobe who we went down 3 / 4 in the Division 3 final last year and Brad going for 7 zip in his endeavor’s and....... as it turned out, we achieved them all!!

 There can only be one winner so bad luck to Latrobe today - as silly as this might sound -'congratulations' - you guys put up an incredible fight and were also 'winners' - your narrow loss reflects the intense battle that was fought between our two great clubs. As we have come to know over the last few years, Latrobe are a very proud club and they had a lot at stake and just never, ever gave up all day.

 Unfortunately for them, the team they fielded this season was depleted by 2 or 3 from last year and they just didn’t have the ‘cattle’ to provide a better showing for their Divvy 2 season. They played in the 'Spirit of Pennant' and their members should be very, very proud of their squad not only today, but throughout the season - 'Cheltie' has formed a very strong bond with Latrobe and we now call you 'mates', you took the loss 'with honour' and were so gracious in defeat so good on you all!

 Kingswood and Victoria had a Division 2 final and a Division 1 spot at stake and it was Victoria who beat Kew 5/2 who made it across the line. Kingswood made a courageous attempt in a 6/1 win over Croydon, but needed Victoria to lose. Congratulations to Victoria Golf Club, we are looking forward to a great final in two weeks time.

 Now.......... how the day panned out - with a forecast top of 16C, partly cloudy and light winds becoming southerly 15 to 20 km/h during the middle of the day, I dropped into the club and wished those Colts who had arrived early for their match against Peninsula the best of luck for their final round of 2013. This season has seen them gain valuable experience which will put them in good stead for the years to come. Unfortunately they didn't get over the line but great to see Sammy Francis (great 5/3 win over past Cheltie player in Mark Gledhill - Crompton told me to highlight this one Mr. Gledhill!!) and Ben Lawlor have solid wins - good on you guys!

 I saw a couple of our ladies squad in Pam and Janet whilst down there and wished them all the best in their semi final at Huntingdale – a big contest for our ladies and I sincerely hoped that they could bring home a win and a finals berth, unfortunately, the ladies went down 5/2 - bad luck ladies – more from Paul and Noela on these two matches later.

 I then headed off to the magnificent Kingston Heath golf club with plenty of time to spare before our 12.00 noon tee off - I had a beer with Pete's caddy in John McMillan in the stunning clubhouse and savored the ambience and special feel of this clubs history and was amazed at how wonderful everything looked. This sensational club has consistently rated in the top 30 courses in the world and after walking the links today, you can see why! What an amazing clubhouse and superb course, everything about this club is simply stunning and I felt privileged to be there! I wondered how our players and caddies would be feeling as I watched them having practice putts and prepared to tee off!

 After watching our number 7 through number 1 tee off, John and I went in to enjoy the hospitality of Kingston Heath. A key objective of these functions is to allow all clubs in the division to informally chat over a meal, share ideas and form bonds - they have been a terrific forum for Cheltie to gain some 'cred' and I have really enjoyed those that I have attended. Everyone was keen to get out on the course today as there were 7 spots which could change and everyone was told to split up - no two clubs to have the same representatives on each of the two tables. So, each table included, the Captains and Presidents from Divvy 2 in Kingston Heath, Victoria, Kew, Spring Valley, Latrobe, Croydon (Yering Meadows) Kingswood and Cheltenham - everyone on my table were off like a shot! I was left by myself and when beckoned to come to the few remaining on John's table, I retorted that I was sitting on the 'Division One' table - that went over really well!!

 After our meal, John and I took to the course to ascertain the state of play - good and bad news - some up, some down and some square and that was how it was to be for the rest of the afternoon - tense, tight and hanging in the balance!

 Some really special highlights today and as I said, we got everything on offer - an undefeated season, an opportunity to defeat Latrobe who were our opponents in the Division 3 final last year and wishing that Brad could go through another season undefeated and receive a personal accolade from Golf Vic.

 Without labouring the point, this squad has put in an enormous team effort during the season and regardless of who won and who didn't today, every player and caddy have given 100% and this squad has achieved the results........ Some days are diamonds, some days are stones......... and as a squad; they have teamed beautifully. One week Darcy gets the choccies, the next Tom, the next Brad, the next Ben, the next Mitch, the next Simon, the next Pete and so it goes - a team effort as Cam and Tommy always say!

 On that note, I know when Brad got his ‘undefeated medal’ in a losing final presentation several years ago, he would have happily traded it in for a flag for the squad and he will be overwhelmed to receive both this year. What a year this fine young man has had! Sonia and Michael and Brad's lovely girlfriend in Hayley must be so, so proud of this unassuming teenager and as a club, we are ‘over the moon’ with his season and are so glad to have him as one of our ‘Young Guns’. He gave his Captain in Tommy everything that was asked of him and made his Pennant Manager in Cam Lines immensely proud. I shook his caddy's hand (his dad Michael) after Brads win and I just knew how moved Michael was with his sons win, not just for Brad, but for the club - the Kivimets' family live and breathe 'The Spirit of Pennant' - what wonderful members we have in them and all they collectively wish for is a Divvy 2 flag for Cheltie - such an unselfish outlook - good on you all!

 Looking back on the season, one thing I can take away from is how all clubs have played in the ‘Spirit of Pennant’. I have been so impressed with how everyone from every club has conducted themselves in every contest. I have been humbled by the feedback that we as a club have received during the season and I am sure that the VGA and our competing clubs have taken notice’ of how we do things at ‘Cheltie’. Our definition of ‘wealth’ goes a lot deeper than the amount of money we have in our bank account and to quote a paragraph from an email sent by a Gold Sponsor in Michael Fry after our win last week, Michael paid praise to our ‘Stalwarts’ and our ‘Kids’:……….

 To me this is a living legacy of what Cheltenham is and should always be - a great Club that develops its juniors into not only good golfers but great ambassadors of themselves, their families and their Club. I am proud of them all. It is a testament to their characters that they have stuck to each other (and Cheltenham) whilst under, in some cases, considerable pressure from other clubs to "move on and up".

 Everyone at Cheltie should be proud of our efforts - over the years, it has been a terrific ‘ride’ and make no mistake, we have done it tough and not tasted a lot of success, but our character as a club has earned us respect and admiration from the other clubs. They surely must have doubted if a ‘little nine hole club’ could ever be in this position. Well, we are......... and the club is going gangbusters with unbelievable increases in memberships across the board and plenty of proud and hardworking members and players who are now tasting unbelievable success.

All of us would love nothing more than the boys to reap ultimate success in two weeks time when they drape a Divvy 2 flag around themselves. They know that the level of support from our sponsors and supporters in the final contest will be awesome and they also know we back them ‘unconditionally’ week in and week out. All of us wish the boys the very best of luck in the final against our wonderful neighbours in the Victoria Golf Club. Our squad has been the best team all year and all of you truly deserve this win for firstly yourselves and then the club!

 Many thanks to our friends at Kingston Heath for your first class hospitality today, John and I thoroughly enjoyed your genuine warmth and sincere wishes for a successful season in Division 1 next year – good on you all at Kingston Heath!

 Before I close this final 'home and away' newsletter, our ‘Web Guru’ in Alex Lawson tells me that our website had been going ‘nuts’ and I know the other clubs view our Pennant News regularly - we get ‘hits’ from all over the world.

 So, in closing the seasons newsletter, I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to Alex for his amazing work and also to all of the Division 2 clubs we have been competing with this year and the VGA. - Cheltie has genuinely appreciated everyone's hard work, remarkable hospitality, warm wishes and superb courses and facilities. I hope you all have 'enjoyed the ride' and I wish you all the best of luck in the true sense and meaning of 'The Spirit of Pennant' - good on all of you!.

 It has been an amazing ride and I thank everyone who has supported our Captain in Tommy, our Pennant Manager in Cam, Paul F, the squad and our club this year - particularly the mothers, fathers, friends, wives, girlfriends and caddies......not to mention our magnificent Pennant Sponsors, staff and members - again, I have been truly privileged to be 'The Voice' in 2013 and what a ride I have had!!

 Good luck to Cheltie and to Victoria in the final – David V Goliath and another ‘rip snorter’ coming up!

 See you all at Yarra Yarra at 8.00am on Sunday, May 19th - 200+ 'Loyals' to be sure!!!!

 Hit them well and Cheltie is ……… an amazing place to be!!

Tony Blair,
Vice President and 2013 Pennant Coordinator  


STOP PRESS:  If you want to 'experience' the 'Cheltie Way' as a club member, our club has increased our numbers by 25% over the last two years.  We have no joining fee for any membership category but our 7 day men's is filling fast - very soon we will have to 'close the books'.

For female members, there are still vacancies for our Cheltenham Ladies (18 holes) -  Monday and Wednesday mornings and for those who are 'time poor' or only want to play 9 holes - Cheltie could be your answer.  Our wonderful 'Cressy' ladies play a nine hole competition every Tuesday morning and are bringing in many new members.  Our Parklands ladies play every Thursday morning and also have limited vacancies - all of our lady clubs will welcome you on board - 'your choice' - 9 or 18 holes, mid week competitions, friendly environment, fantastic course  and great rates to 'get on board' in a sandbelt club.......... be quick and ...........see  you ladies soon!!