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June 8 - Transit of Venus

Those of you who are loyal followers of SacGolf will have been able to watch this rarest of spectacles live and in full colour thanks to GolfBag's pioneering hook-up with a Norwegian astronomer (having failed to distinguish Venus from dust particles using his own efforts to view the event...). GolfBag will, however, admit that the transit was not on a par with the total eclipse of the sun a few years ago which could actually be experienced! It was still the first in 120 years or so which is worth thinking about. One of the few periodic events that didn't happen in the 20th century, and only the 6th time since the invention of the telescope.

Rendez-vous in 12 years time for the next one, then nuffin' until the 22nd century. Book now! 

June 8 - Transit of Venus

Those of you who are loyal followers of SacGolf will have been able to watch this rarest of spectacles live and in full colour thanks to GolfBag's pioneering hook-up with a Norwegian astronomer (having failed to distinguish Venus from dust particles using his own efforts to view the event...). GolfBag will, however, admit that the transit was not on a par with the total eclipse of the sun a few years ago which could actually be experienced! It was still the first in 120 years or so which is worth thinking about. One of the few periodic events that didn't happen in the 20th century, and only the 6th time since the invention of the telescope.

Rendez-vous in 12 years time for the next one, then nuffin' until the 22nd century. Book now! 

March 13 - It pays to improve your word power (apologies to Readers Digest)

If someone (French) were to throw in a casual "go'alavrage" (or "gowalavrage") at you in the middle of a conversation in French, what would you do? Understand immediately? Mutter "Plaît-il?"? Assume they meant something to do with washing? None of the above?

Golf Bag, he with the super atomic-powered hearing, let it pass as usual, but from the others listening (mixed French and English) rose a chorus "Say qwa ças". After several repetitions, with nobody any the wiser, finally we started getting it written out letter by letter on the tablecloth "G - O - A - L" (aha, not French, but a word that!) space "A - V - ". "Goal average" cried Golf Bag (reading upside down - he can read, you know) as the remaining letters  "E - R - A - G - E" were writ. Goal average? In a discussion of golf? WTF? Well, apparently that's a common expression in the world of golf officialdom for separating tied teams in pooled matches  (total wins/losses, away wins/losses, singles wins vs doubles wins, etc.)

So now whenever you need to toss a technical term into your next French conversation to blind them with science,  just use "goal average" but pronounced as in French, all one word with no stresses - go'alavrage. Now ain't French easy?

February 14 - It's a lot to go through, just to play off the Reds!

"You certainly don't go through surgery lightly," Mianne Bagger, Australian Ladies Golf Pro

Consider this little gem from the Telegraph (or from here on the BBC site). Reports say that while the Australian WGA thinks the whole thing is OK, the R&A are less convinced.

January 25 - Interplanetary golf

NASA called the Mars "Opportunity" landing an "interplanetary hole-in-one".

The first thing that came to Golf Bag's mind when he saw the panoramic photo was "bunker"! (Note to Local  Rules Committee, are the stones and rocks to be counted as moveable obstructions?)

Ironically the whole thing's about searching for a water hazard...

2004 January 17 - Spotted at a place near here, a candidate for a Caption Competition?

Matching shirt and flowers available from a SacGolf Franchise Boutique near you!

Is this a coincidence, Simon's shirt matching the flowers?

(Mark you, check out Maurice's shirt from a year ago here!)


December 5 - For the last few weeks the SacGolf help line has been buzzing with the sounds of fierce argument.

Golf Bag finally managed a sneak interview of the shy and retiring Scratcher. "I wasn't scratching," denied the Scratcher in an accidentally recorded, off-the-record briefing. "I am totally innocent. I have the evidence to prove it," Scratcher continued, showing a pristine, itch-free buttock. "Look, my bum's as smooth as a baby's, no need to scratch!"

Well folks, here's your chance to express your opinion. You've seen the evidence below. Was the Phantom Scratcher really scratching? Go to this page and vote! 

November 17 - Question 1: How many of you did Latin in school? Question 2: How many of you can remember any of it? Well, you can test your recall at this site offering, you guessed it,  the weather in Latin!

Scratcher caught in the actNovember 16 - "Cor, what cheek!"
Did you see the new game on television today? Called "Prime Time Scratch" you are invited to name the Scratcher for huge prizes. Can you name the Scratcher? Clue, the television show was the evening news on FR3. The occasion was England's glorious defeat of the French in the Rugby world cup semi-final. The place, the Club in Meudon. Still stuck? Click on the image to see the full frontal view! Or click here* to see all the action, live, in living Technicolor, of this well known scratch player!

(* be warned, it's big. No, not that, I meant the files!
If you couldn't read that one, try this instead) 

November 6 - In the Wrinkly Winter Challenge match against Montgriffon at Montgriffon Golf Bag got through the tricky 2nd and 3rd greens (still at 3.2 or so, see below) in 3 putts! While playing partners notched up 3, 4  and 5 on the 3rd alone! Boasting apart, the trick, according to his latest guru, in preparing for fast greens (e.g. Golf Nat at it's best, Rebetz, Montgriffon etc.) is to  practise putting downhill, which mimics the the effect of speed.
In the same match one of the opponents (with hair matching the flame coloured trees dotting the course... but I digress) was also involved in the notorious 14th green episode at Gadancourt (see below) during a Ladies Doubles tournament - but got away with a seven - a mere 4 putts - and not the record 15!

PS Villarceaux lost 4-2 (GolfBag and partner won 4/3)

October 22 - What's odd about the Nord/Sud match? Well, to start with it's Greensome Net Matchplay. Not odd. But played over 18 holes, with a point for the winner of the 1st 9, another for the 2nd nine, and a 3rd for the full 18, 3 points per match in all. So far, so good, not really odd at all. Ah, but did I say net? Well, the strokes given / received are based on 3/4 of the difference of the combined handicaps. Where's the oddity? Well, just think about it. This method of calculation just about doubles the strokes given/received over the more usual foursomes formulae offer variants on the average handicap (e.g. 60% of one, 40% of the other), not the combined.

Why? - "Oh, well, the Federation doesn't recognise Greensome as an official formula, so we can do what we like!" Um. That must be why on the printed score cards using the Federation software, the strokes given/received were crossed out by hand and the new ones substituted!

Despite this, Sud only won today's tournament by a point (23 vs 22). It was interesting to observe that generally speaking Nord was giving shots to Sud, and the high handicap matches went predominantly in Sud's favour. In fact well done us Nordists for getting anywhere near them!

Next year we'll get them though, as Villarceaux is to be the host club.

October 17 - During a discussion about the difficulty of moving between the from the sluggish greens of Villarceaux and the lightning fast greens recently experienced at MontGriffon (a slithery 3.2+!! - Ooh! the though of their 2nd at that speed hardly doesn't bear thinking about - and the "95" Wrinkly Tour takes them in this Winter for a change!) GolfBag was reminded of a tale of what occurred this past weekend at Gadancourt during some departmental or regional Ladies' Doubles Tournament.

Those of you who know Gadancourt will remember the trio of holes from the 14th to the 16th, rising above the valley floor toward the hills on the southern side, which incidentally offer one of the very few interesting scenic views of this otherwise unremarkable spot.

Of these, the 14th is undoubtedly the most difficult, with a two-tier, steeply inclined  green separated diagonally buy a small precipice. It is impossible to be on the top plateau and stay on the green if the flag is below on the lower plateau. Equally, there happens to be about a square meter of flat surface on the upper tier, and where a ball may occasionally be persuaded to lodge, temporarily defying the inevitable effects of gravity.

For official tournaments, it is the appointed Referee(s)/Arbitre(s) who select the pin placements.

And it was this narrow ledge - for that is clearly what it is, though clearly not so clearly to the inexperienced eye of a visiting arbitre, or one who was too lazy to test the pin positions for him/herself - that was selected for the pin placement on that fateful final day last Sunday.

Gadancourt has, like many courses, suffered gravely over the summer, but has been saved by the care and devoted attention that has been lavished on the greens, which are for the most part very fast and true. And  none more dangerously so than the infernal 14th, particularly with the pin in impossible position A!

There are ways to score par on that hole, but all involve approaching from short and below, with great humility and offering of gifts to the Gods of Golf, and then only with the pin on the lower tier!

Suffice it to say that the scores that day on that hole were in keeping with its impossibility, with the highest score recorded that Sunday being a truly humbling 15!

October 15 - While maintaining the bar at the 19th at Villarceaux firmly in position, your roving reporter's acute hearing was drawn to the the following delightful tale or arrogance matched by shear cheek!
Player A and player B have reached a crucial stage in their match. Player A putts to just over a meter from the hole, leaving and uncertain putt for par. Player B makes an excellent putt to about 25 cm. Player B ventures "Donné?". Player A says "Merci!" and picks up her marker!  Player B putts and misses. Player A wins hole! And subsequently the match.

October 12 - a real pleasure to see young Michael Dean win the Matchplay. Even though he plays at St Cloud, the section needs more young blood (as does the Club!). The younger generation of 15 or more years ago has long gone (Alex Campbell, Robert and Simon Fothergill, Jonathan Miller, Bernard Lacey, Neil Anderson to name but a few who, armed with their "brevet sportifs", graced the fair ways of Villarceaux on occasion) and Simon can't seem to get young Alexander out either! 

October 10 - At least SAC hole-in-oners pay their whack! Spotted in today's Daily Telegraph:

Golfer, 93, hits hole in one

A 93-year-old golfer has claimed to be the oldest player in Britain to register a hole-in-one. Bob Fishwick, a retired businessman, set the record at the 109-yard ninth hole at Craggan Golf Club in Strathspey a fortnight ago.
"I lost the ball over the brow of the hill but there were some people shouting and waving their arms on the neighbouring green so I knew it wasn't a bad shot," said Mr Fishwick, of Grantown-on-Spey.
Archie Ballantyne, 76, his playing partner, said: "We forgot to call in at the clubhouse to buy the traditional round of drinks but when we got home we enjoyed a nice cup of tea."

Did anyone notice the odd piece of course design - a blind 100m par 3 - there's one a Cabourg-Le Home like that!

September 28 - What's this I hear about poor Malcolm not being fed on Sunday 'cos he was too busy doing the scores? Shame on you lot. Malcolm, if it's any consolation, the Golf Bag Newsdesk has been inundated with calls from happy campers saying how wonderful the weekend was, and how you are to be congratulated on making it possible. 

September 27 - Rumour has it that Michael Dean had an air-shot on the first tee. Just practising for the Matchplay, Michael? Or just trying to lull the opposition, Simon, into a false feeling of confidence? Or was it as a result of studying a draft father Andrew's short scientific monograph entitled "Effects of drinking whole bottles of corked wine on the mid-handicap golfer" following detailed research into the topic. Now why wasn't it he who had the whiff?

September 26 - Sprightly (for his age, 76) James Moore (83) generously sprays a select band of friends and acquaintances with champagne to celebrate his recent 64th birthday.

September 17 - Elegant beauty Jill Forrest celebrates hubby Malcolm's birthday with Hole in One! Well done Jill. This makes the fourth hole in one by section members this year. Jill joins the very select club consisting of Molly Just-the-One Willatts and Eric Two-Ace Lacey.

September 15 - If any you you globetrotters golfers ever feel the need for a spot of golf in the wilds of Northern Canada in between hunting for caribou or running from polar bears or whatever else one does up there, you should perhaps consider enrolling for the Summer competition at Nunavik.

September 11th - I don't know how many of you have visited the Trophéee Lancôme web site, and if in doing so you were as intrigued as I by the front page illustration of the girl with the flashing n*pple? Perhaps this is an indication of forthcoming trends in the fragrance industry?

September 8th - Paul and Jill Forrest helped Villarceaux to victory in yet another wrinkly match, this time against Domont. Last time Paul played there was in the pouring rain, so didn't see much of the course; this time the course was played in bright sunshine. A similar forest-type course to Rochefort, par 71 too, with nice fast, flat greens (enabling young Millerman  to hole almost everything for a nice little 5-over 76 off the yellows). Well worth a visit. Villarceaux have reciprocal visiting arrangement with them on a Thursday, if I recall.

September 3rd - Christian Etencelin of Villarceaux, who those of you who participated in this year's Quadrathlon will have met, played a blinder last week in a wrinkly match against Seraincourt, bringing home a nice little 73 (which included 5 birdies) for the home team and a couple of strokes off his index (45 Stableford!).

August 13th - Rumours that Eric Ace Lacey had repeated his Arras exploit (Hole in One - see April 30th below) during a round with Sue Hall and Pam Constant in the Yonne were confirmed today. Eric Two-Ace Lacey also marked Golf Bag's one under par 70 at Rochefort today - see Local News

July 12th - For those who have felt that the last ten years have just not been the same without their favourite rubber duck, relief is at hand! Here's the Beeb's report.

July 11th - Good grief, where did June go? Anyway, for those who've been forced to miss their dose of culture because of the striking artistes, here's a short, original, specially commissioned theatrical piece entitled "Rule 19.4". (For Musical Rights, apply within)
Remember you read it here first!

Scene: A golf course near you.
Enter Nicodemus Player, an old duffer, and Cecelia Outside-Agency, a bright young thing.

Nicodemus: Fore!

Cecelia: Ouch!

Enter St Andrew, an Ancient

St Andrew: Rub of the green - as it lies, play on!


May 29th - Bob Hope, comedian and golf enthusiast extraordinary is 100 years old today. Here's what the Beeb has to say.

May 28th - The Engelen & the Millerman help Villarceaux Wrinklies inflict resounding defeat on  Rebetz, known for their rapid greens, aided by our greenkeeper's coating  of our greens with treacle to slow them down. Unfortunately Villarceax had already lost the away leg - so the end result is "nul points". 

PS - Greenkeeper promises to put a bit more sand on greens to speed them up a bit. What a change from a couple of weeks ago (see below) when they were just starting to behave properly. Shame.

May 18th - What's the connection between the cave paintings at Lascaux in the Dordogne and the greens at Villarceaux and many other golf clubs in the Paris area and indeed including those at Deutsche Bank-SAP Open TPC of Europe at Gut Kaden, scene of Padraig Harrington's playoff victory today over Thomas Bjorn?

No, golf wasn't invented 17,000 years ago in France. We're pretty sure that the "dead" man was attacked by a bison, and not laid low by a missed putt (though could the bird's head on a stick be what thet used instead of flags to mark the holes?) And no, our greens have not been mutilated by herds of wild antelope - or bison for that matter.

The answer, much more mundane, is the nasty little soil fungus, Fusarium patch, which caught hold in very many golf clubs during the long freezing spell at the beginning of the year. In addition to carving holes in our greens, this ochre-coloured excrescence is also covering over the fabulous Lascaux paintings - the real ones, not the copies!

May 15th - Not having played at Vill for a couple of weeks, Golf Bag was surprised to see how fast the greens were (actually all except 7 and 18) - and would be even faster if the grass wasn't busy flowering! They're almost like greens now. What a change! Saturday will be interesting!

May 7th - Now what was languorous lovely G**l F*****t doing tearing along the highways and byways of nether Oise and Val d'Oise in a black, open-top, Porsche Carrera? And who was the lucky man? Answers on a postcard please to the usual place.

April 30 - Golf Bag's indefatigable roving reporters at Arras tell him that Elizabeth Lacey was more interested in observing wildlife than husband Eric's crowning golfing moment.  And unless Eric offers your humble scribbler Golf Bag a drink, his Hole in One at the 3rd at Arras on Friday, will go forever unreported. Oops! (Have a look at this too!)

The week-end also unfortunately underlined the importance of player and marker checking the scores together at the end of a round as well as after each hole. (See Rule 6.6(d)). Though many get caught out because they of failed to apply a proper penalty prior to handing in their cards, just plain clerical errors caused Ahmad Dan Bateman to fall foul of the disqualification penalty in this rule earlier this year in  February's Johnny Walker Classic; as did Nick Faldo in the 1992 Sun City Million Dollar Challenge. Perhaps more frustrating is the player who signs for a score more than he actually scored (no disqualification, the score stands). This famously happened to Roberto Vicenzo in the 1968 Masters, which did him out of a tie for first place. "Oh, what a stupid I am," he is quoted as saying. Which just about sums it up.  

April 22 - Reports are coming in that that Ace of the Wrinkly Tour, Millerman, shot a 75 in today's match against Domont, a round that included 3 double bogies offset by 3 birdies. While he had no problem with the greens, Rule 25-1, Abnormal ground conditions, was applied (with the authorisation of the Committee) by other members of the party on several occasions, which allows a player to move a ball on the green to avoid or minimise interference with the line of play (see the R&A Rules in the menu on the left). While the undamaged parts of the greens continue to improve, Alain Bonsens, the greenkeeper, confesses it's slow going, and admits that the end is not yet in site. And the rest of the course really needs rain.

April 19 - Golf Bag reports that grass is at last starting to rear above the sand on Villarceaux's dunes. The situation at last seems to be changing fast, a considerable change since last Wednesday was observed. (And some of the frost damaged areas as well as the diseased areas - which also afflict a number of other clubs round Paris - are starting to fill over). Today greens 1-6 were green, flat and rolling well & true (though 6 has unexpectedly slow round the hole (had it been cut high?); 7, 8, 9 were uneven rubbish; 10 to 15 mostly offered acceptable putting surfaces but still needed some more grass to grow (or it was just the fact that they were drying out compared to the first 9?). 16 was bumpy, 17 & 18 didn't have enough grass yet, though some bits of 18 round the flag were OK.

April 11 - The result of the St Georges Handicap over 18 fences at Chantilly today was a runaway victory for the Fillies who came in at 1 and 2 (Françoise Hibbs and Muriel Rosset). Has anyone seen the handicap committee?

And the person who took Eight, yes, 8, attempts to get out of a bunker will be "Named and Shamed" in these columns unless a substantial donation for "charitable purposes" is deposited in Sacgolf's numbered Swiss bank account very soon.

March 29 - Many Happy Returns to Golf Section stalwart CJ who celebrates the passing of yet another year - 2 more until he's an OAP though.

So what's Dougie (again?) doing in a Fiat Multipla this week (March 24-29). Broken his new Peugeot 307 SW already?

March 22 - Michael Dean saves the honour of the Dean family by posting an 84 gross, 65 net in today's St Cloud medal, and came first brut and second net to keep the SAC colours flying, following Doug's two wins reported below. 

SAC vice-president Douglas Anderson has his eyes on Ian Jones' claim to most improved player by posting an 83 off the whites at Villarceaux on Wed 12th followed by an 80 net (63) in a medal at St Cloud on Sat 15th, making it 2 wins running!. "My best round ever," Dougie said.

Reportedly the Deans (Andrew and Michael) could only manage 98 and 91 respectively. "We're just not in the same league," confessed Andrew. 



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Last changed : 09/11/12 01:13