3rd & 4th September: Merapi Golf Club
16 JAWS Sharks headed to Central Java and Yogjakarta alongside 4 local based Jogja Golfers, which included Jogja based Shark Nick Goodwin. This field of 20 amateur golfers with handicaps ranging from from 3 – 28 were competing in the inaugural Merapi Masters trophies with: Best Nett Overall, Best Gross Overall, Best Nett Runner Up and Best Nett 2nd Runner Up, up for grabs.
The Jakarta contingent caught the afternoon flight out of town arriving at the New Yogjakarta International Airport arriving mid afternoon Friday and were met by the via.com team at the arrivals exit and whisked by our very own private bus to the HYATT Regency Hotel in town arriving around 5pm. The HYATT Regency is well equipped for avid golfers, complete with its very own 9-hole resort course, driving range (open at night only 6-10pm) as during the day the space is the 9th fairway, and a large floodlit chipping and short-game area, besides the lively Bogey’s teras coffee and cocktail bar.
The group was happy to kick back at the Bogey’s teras bar the first evening while a few Sharks’ hit balls at the range down the ninth fairway, and there was chips and beers on the practice green well into the evening, to sharpen up the short games for Merapi’s infamous greens.
With the opening round not scheduled at Merapi until 13:00pm, one flight tee’d off at the Hyatt Regency 9-hole course for a 7am 9-hole round, the format (2-man scramble): with Bobby and Simon taking on local shark Nick Goodwin and Jens H. The chipping late in the evening clearly helped, as Bobby chipped in for a bird on hole one from off the green and to go 1up as Nick and failed to convert from 12 ft. Practice pays off folks! Despite its short layout of 9 holes, comprising of 6 par 3’s and 3 par 4’s, the Hyatt Regency is by no means a pitch and putt, especially if you play from the back tees. The shortest par 3 at 120m and the longest par 3 just shy of 200m. Nonetheless a good walk!
Clearly from the scores on Day 1, Merapi Golf is a tough course, even from the white tees, and only 1 of the 20 players shot their handicap or better. With overcast conditions and Gunung Merapi hiding in the foreground the fast greens running at 10.8 baffled the players with one shark recording a 6 putt, 1 on and 6 putts for a 7 on the signature uphill hole #4.
Like most courses, especially mountain courses, placement off the tee is essential, allowing you to go for the greens in regulation, and with the hard and firm fairways’ Thomson’s deep pot bunkers were ready to gobble up a wayward drive and a guaranteed lost shot. For the majority of the players, it was the first time playing this beast of a layout… would the players see the beauty during round 2? Only time would tell.
The group keen to put day one behind them, headed back into town to freshen up at the hotel, as some stayed and chilled at the hotel, a group of Sharks journeyed into town to try Jogja’s restaurant du excellence: Mediterranean by Kamil for dinner, a restaurant recommended by many as the place to eat when in Jogja. The food was fantastic complete with a fine selection of wines to choose from, with the Lamb Shank half the price of what you would pay back in Jakarta, as the establishment lived up to its reputation serving quality Mediterranean influenced dishes with an Asian twist.
After a gloomy opening round of bogey’s or worse, the Golfing Gods were to shine a bright light on day 2, as Merapi stood tall and proud in the foreground and our early tee off at 7am was rewarded with clear blue skies and sunshine and the morning dew put the brakes on the fast greens as many players recorded much lower scores on day 2, learning from mistakes the previous day.
The Championship flight with the 4 lowest nett players from day one was: Willi G, Bobby, Greg White and Eric (Santoso) Mary. Perhaps the morning conditions were more favourable, then the previous day but there were more smiles on faces in the clubhouse post round 2 then post round 1.
Willi G put on an exhibition of gutsy, gritty golf, proving that steady golf backed up with a solid short game is the formula on a tough mountain course like Merapi, posting back to back nett 72’s to take best nett overall by a 7 stroke margin from the best nett runner up players. Bobby and Greg were gunning it out for 2nd place both playing solid golf and were separated on count-back, with Greg posting the better scores from holes 16-18.
Simon posted 10 strokes better in round 2 from round 1, and determined to improve on his disappointing first round, was 3 under after 4 holes, with a couple of late doubles dampening the scorecard, but he was certainly pleased with 5 birdies and a 77 gross on a course like Merapi.
The handmade wooden trophies of Gunung Merapi were handed out at the clubhouse, with the image of Gunung Merapi standing tall well ingrained in player’s minds, as the Sharks made their way directly to the New Yogjakarta International Airport in the team bus, with a bit of karaoke on route, to catch the 1655 flight back to Jakarta.
Congratulations to the Merapi Masters 2022 Winners:
Best Nett Overall: Willie Goldschimdt / Nett 72 + 72 // Total: Nett 144
Best Nett Runner Up: Greg White // Nett Total: 151 (on countback)
Best Nett 2nd Runner Up: Bobby Cangkrama // Nett Total: 151
Best Gross Overall: Simon Reynolds / 87 + 77 // Gross Total: 164
A big thank you to Srinivas Murthy and his via.com who took good care of the touring party for our weekend stay in Jogja, and Outstation Captain Willie Goldschimdt for making the trip happen. Once again thanks to JAWS Jogja resident Nick Goodwin for arranging the golf and organizing the beautifully crafted hand-made trophies from Jepara. Looking forward to the Merapi Masters in 2023!
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