SA PESA-SPE 2013 Golf Tournament (Page 1 of 2) By Nicole Ditty, 21 Aug 2013

The 34th Annual PESA-SPE Golf Tournament was held at the Flagstaff Hill Golf Club on 21 March 2013, with proceeds going to support the Royal Flying Doctor Service, providers of medical backup for remote operations, such as those carried out by the petroleum industry in South Australia.

After all the income and expenses from the tournament had been tallied up, there was found to be a substantial profit and a cheque for $30,000 was donated to the RFDS at its aircraft hangar at Adelaide Airport on 19 July 2013. Andy Pietsch, Doug Roberts, Claudia Fintina and Alan Carey, representing the Tournament Committee, presented the cheque to RFDS' Charlie Paterson and Andrew Rutter. This follows a long tradition of support for the RFDS with in excess of $250,000 having been donated to them over the years from previous golf tournaments.

Charlie Paterson told the visitors that the RFDS turned 85 this year, having operated since May 1928. The organisation has 63 aircraft operating Australia wide with four based in Adelaide, three in Port Augusta, three in Alice Springs and another doing charter work in the NT.

The RFDS is very appreciative of donations such as those raised by the Golf Tournament whioch helps them maintain the expensive aircraft. Aircraft engines have to be replaced after 5000 hours service, and the airframe, the aircraft itself, after 20,000 hours. It is easy to appreciate how the hours on the aircraft build up quickly when it is understood that the RFDS carries out 110 medical evacuations in Australia every day, with 15 of these being in SA.

Charlie also showed the visitors the holding room where the less serious patients are kept with a nurse in attendance until an ambulance can take them to hospital. The more serious patients are met by a waiting ambulance on the tarmac and the aircraft itself has landing priority over all other air traffic.

Getting back to the tournament, which was generously supported by 39 service and operator companies. It was well organised and ran smoothly, thanks to the dedicated committee who had all the contingencies worked out in advance. There were 133 players on the course and with the addition of course helpers and non-playing diners, 160 attended the sumptuous dinner after the tournament, which was followed by the traditional auction.

At check-in to the tournament breakfast was supplied and Andy Pietsch gave a rousing welcome, then sent the players to their starting holes. The format was Ambrose, with the beauty of this type of event being that even the less experienced golfers get a chance to contribute to the team. One stipulation was that a least four tee shots from each team member had to be used.

The weather on the day was 22 C with a strong westerly bringing the odd shower. These did cool the players but did little to dampen their spirits and play proceeded at an orderly pace. There was ample food at the BBQ holes 7, 9 and 14 and liquid refreshments too until the supply of Coopers ran out, necessitating an emergency trip to a local liquor store for more.

There were prizes along the way for the longest drives on holes 1, 4, 8, 10 and 18. Hole 4 also had the quirky rule that each player was only allowed the one club for each fairway shot, as determined by the team captain. This rule made the longest drives shorter, unless the captain decided the team would use their drivers off the tee and for each fairway shot as well.

There were prizes for nearest the pin on holes 3, 7, 9, 13 and 14. It was possible to win a bottle of Grange on hole 3 by purchasing a ball from Halliburton and hitting it nearest the pin. Also, players could win the Schlumberger Perpetual Trophy on hole 7 by purchasing a separate ball and hitting it over the nasty water hazard and closest to the pin. There was a prize on hole 13 for a hole-in one which is rarely won by anyone. There was also a nearest the pin prize after the second shot on hole 11, a par 4.

During the course of play we heard a roar go up from a neighbouring fairway and thought that someone must have hit a hole-in-one. However, Hugh Sheppard, went one better than that and achieved a rare albatross 2 on hole 8, a par 5. Hugh put it down to luck but most would agree that a fair degree of skill was required too.