Thomas van Nes achieves immortality
The unforgiving Highlands.
Every golfer’s aim is to write themselves into history and be remembered
for evermore. While professionals target the four major tournaments; the
PGA, US Open, Masters and Open, Chiang Mai’s Royal Leaguers have their
eager eyes on the “Little Man”.
The “Little Man” trophy is played for every first Thursday of each month
in a stroke play competition, and Thomas van Nes will have his name
inscribed on it with all the other past champions after winning a closely
fought contest nine days ago.
The first three players on the final leader board were within just one
stroke of each other, and Thomas can look back on a steady round that
started on the 10th tee, with a front nine of 2 under par off a gross 42
including three pars and six bogeys.
With growing confidence, he made the road home more interesting by taking
the driver out of the bag, and hit notable screamers on the par 4, 5th and
8th. Left with short pitches on both holes, he duly two putted to record
The course at the Highlands Golf and Spa Resort can be unforgiving when it
comes to inaccuracy and Thomas can count himself lucky that his pulled shot
on the 6th, which left him knee deep in vegetation only 50 yards from the
tee, cost him no more than a treble bogey. His net score of 71 in the
clubhouse was enough.
Jim Cannon was less fortunate when his few wayward shots in the round landed
him with 3 double bogeys, and although he walked off the 18th green with the
same gross score as Thomas, his handicap is one shot lower. Nevertheless,
this was Jim’s first top three placing since joining the Royal League.
Jon Haid has been the man in form of late and no stranger to the top three
places. Last time out he came in the winner, but in this “Little Man”
contest, he had to be content with third after scoring a damaging 8 over par
on the 4 par fives.
While this was Thomas’s first “Little Man” win, Jon last took the
title in January of 2004, and there are just two more chances left this year
for the rest of the field.
Meanwhile, the Happy Bar Stds. enjoyed superb conditions on both days of
play last week at Mae Jo Golf Club. Bob Jess won Monday’s stroke play
competition with a net 71, which could have been a lot better if his short
game had come up to par. Ranjit Sidhu became the Stds. “nearly man” by
coming runner up for the second week on the trot.
Friday’s Stableford tourney was played from the back tees and Don Peterson
and Tom Ingham shared the honours with 34 points.
With just 4 rounds left in the eclectic contest, Jim Cannon remains leader
on an unchanged tally of 68 strokes, but Tom Ingham has managed to close the
gap to just one shot. After only three games, Jack Cooper is down to a
challenging 73, just ahead of Dennis Woerner.
Further down the table, Gordon Langtry and Ranjit Sidhu reduced their score
by 4 and 2 strokes, respectively.
For more information about The Royal League visit www.theroyalleague.com,
and for Happy Bar Stds. ring Noel on 089 256 5705.
Chiang Mai Pool League: The turn of the table
The game of billiards or pool was played as an outdoor sport on the 15th
Century lawns of France, in a similar way to croquet, before moving inside,
possibly due to inclement weather.
table at Out Back.
Nobody knows exactly when the first billiard table was built and while some
reports record a wooden one covered in cloth around 1660, there is also
documentary evidence that they existed as early as 1470; when King Louis XI
of France was said to possess a table with a bed of stone, a cloth covering,
and a hole in the middle of the playing field into which balls could be
The green baize was meant to resemble the grass where the game first took
place and it has been made of wool to this day, although some wool/nylon
blends are currently used.
The rails, banks or cushions were originally used to stop balls from falling
off the table and were stuffed with flax, cotton or other padded materials,
which resulted in a deadening effect. When players began to use the rail for
bank shots or doubles, as the English call them, John Thurston introduced
bouncy rubber cushions.
Slate based tables emerged in 1826 and Queen Victoria received one with
rubber rails from Thurston 12 years later. However, the cold draughty rooms
at Windsor Castle reduced the bounce in the cushions to a thud, and so hot
water warming pans were used to remedy this.
Not to be beaten, Thurston went on to successfully experiment with Charles
Goodyear’s vulcanised rubber, which resisted the effects of the cold, and
he triumphantly fixed his revamped banks to Queen Victoria’s table in
Woolen cloth and vulcanized rubber are the norm in today’s Chiang Mai Pool
League, but the only slate table used was at O’Malley’s Irish Pub.
O’Malley’s claimed to have the only real pool table in town, with balls
the size of Chinese apples and bags like buckets.
Despite winning the League Championship, the pub mysteriously withdrew their
side two seasons later to leave 14 venues with a hilly assortment of
concrete-based snooker tables of various sizes.
While Out Back, Blue Sky Bar, Number 1 Pub, December Bar and the recently
renovated Rock Hard Bistro are generally considered to possess the five
truest tables in the League, those at Enjoy Place, Chiangers and Bangers and
The Wall are arguably not so good.
The table at Enjoy is placed at an awkward height and while some pockets
draw the ball in like a magnet, others repel. Although Chiangers have
improved their playing surface, it’s the only table on which I’ve seen a
slow moving ball perform a U turn. A great deal of local knowledge is also
required to play well on the lumps at The Wall.
Half Moon Pub long kept the secret of the top right hand pocket, but
everyone knows now that it will pull in any soft approach shot that’s
played anywhere near it.
Space around the table is the main problem at Friend’s Corner, where 50%
of shots are played with an improvised cue the length of a chopstick, and
while Happy Bar might present the same kind of problem, there’s the option
of stepping outside the premises and playing shots through the window.
The slowest table in the League must be at The Local, where matches rarely
finish much before Saturday.
At times we need a good sense of humour to play in the Chiang Mai Pool
League, and I’m sure that if the very formal and fussy Queen Victoria were
a member, she wouldn’t be so amused.