Contributed by K Puspalingam, Convener for Golf, Bar Council Sports Committee; and photos by Florence Laway, Senior Administrative Assistant, Bar Council
The final tally for the golf tournament held on 26 Apr 2019 at Keppel Golf Club was 45 golfers from the Malaysian side and 42 from the Singapore side. I am glad to report that we had six golfers from the Bench this time around.
The tournament commenced at 7:30 am shot–gun amidst the intermittent drizzle. The siren went off signalling us to stop play after most of the players had completed their 5th hole when the drizzle turned into a heavy shower which continued unabated until about 11:00 am, by which time most of the greens and fairways had turned into puddles.
According to the Sports Chairperson and Golf Convener of the Law Society of Singapore (“LSS”), Keppel Golf Club had imposed a condition that the competition has to be completed by 12:30 pm. With about 13 holes remaining to be completed, both captains after consultation with the players who took refuge at the golfers terrace decided to call off the tournament and declare the game a draw. Instead of contributing a full one point as always, we conceded half a point to Singapore. Thanks to the divine intervention as quipped by one Singapore player.
On our side the total cost for the game was RM23,895. As per LSS’s Sports Chairperson and Golf Convener, the golf club would not consider a partial refund despite the game being abandoned midway (or rather quarter way). The reason being the course had been booked exclusively for the game. What irked our players was the time limit imposed to complete the game. Even if we had continued play after the rain, we were expected to clear the course by 12:30 pm which is unheard of in our local clubs unless there is another tournament scheduled in the afternoon.
Another drama unfolded a day before the tournament as to the format of play. Suddenly my LSS counterpart wanted a best ball match play format which was abandoned a long time ago due to insufficient number of players from the LSS team during their away games.
This time around the LSS Convener insisted that we should revert to the “better ball match play” format since they have the numbers. After looking at the full flight list, which was only posted to me on 25 Apr 2019 and the rules formulated and posted together with the flight list, I smelled a rat. One of the newly coined Tournament Rules states that players with no official handicap will be assigned a handicap of 24 (men) and 36 (women).
Almost all our players have official club handicaps. So the new rule assigning the arbitrary 24 and 36 handicap to players without handicap would not apply to our players. I know most of the old LSS players who can belt a ball 250 meters but still play to handicap 21. Our players can still take them but there were more than 10 unfamiliar names both men and women in the flight list which sounded the alarm bells. I reckoned they would happily declare that they do not have official handicap and abiding by the new rule they would be assigned 24 and 36 handicap depending on the sex. Imagine our single handicap players some with handicap 6 “dishing out” like 30 strokes to a player declaring 36 just because she does not have an official handicap. It will be a total whitewash on our side. That humiliation was avoided as we stood our ground that we subscribe to the system 36 stableford format.
Well I do not know what format or mode of play LSS has in mind for next year (or the year after) since the parting WhatsApp message from the LSS Convener on 25 Apr 2019 was that “all options are up for discussion and that both the conveners will not be bound by what mode of play has been used in the past”.
Well we shall wait until 2020. Until then we shall keep the options and discussions “out of bounds”.
“Fore LSS” a wayward ball has just been launched.