Some days you have it; some days you don‚??t. ¬†Whatever ‚??it‚?? is, it eluded me today at Concord. ¬†With Their Excellencies The Golf Widows having occupied all of our time and energies over the past week, golf has taken a back seat. ¬†This appears to have had a profoundly detrimental impact on my already mangled golf swing. ¬†(And I thought it couldn‚??t get much worse...) ¬†But it‚??s no use blaming said Golf Widows or anyone else; I‚??ll just have to bite the bullet and learn how to swing the club properly again. ¬†Again. ¬†
Concord‚??s something of a bully. ¬†It‚??s what they call an ‚??A Grade‚?Ě Sydney course, which I think means something akin to ‚??top tier‚?Ě or ‚??really quite private‚?Ě. ¬†Or maybe ‚??A‚?Ě pertains to its difficulty rating, A clearly being Harder Than Granite on this scale which I made up. ¬†Perhaps I exaggerate, but when you happen upon this place (actually, you wouldn‚??t happen upon it, they‚??d probably only let you on if you play with a member), and you get into the nasty fescew (correct spelling?) rough, you‚??ll see what I mean. ¬†Treacherous. ¬†Could drive a weaker man to drink.
Today at Concord the members were having some sort of annual haggle ‚?? a mixed combined stableford, or something of the like. ¬†Given our group comprised 3 males, none of whom are members, needless to say we didn‚??t join in. ¬†The 3rd, by the way, was Mike Irwin ‚?? Goldy‚??s old man‚??s best mate. ¬†The 2nd was Goldy, as you might‚??ve guessed. ¬†Because the event was run as a shotgun start, we were sent out to the 13th tee ‚?? possibly the furthest point on the course from the clubhouse ‚?? probably because no one else wanted to start so far away. ¬†On horseback the trek might‚??ve only taken us 2 days.
I was instantaneously led into a false sense of security. ¬†The 13th is a dogleg left, which happens to suit my strong draw quite nicely. ¬†After caressing my 3 wood ‚??round the bend, within a wee flip of the surface, I thought the stars might be aligned for a successful day at the course. ¬†I was wrong. ¬†Concord may have more dogleg rights than the rest of Sydney‚??s golf courses put together. ¬†Or even Australia‚??s. ¬†The 13th ‚?? like the 17th at Royal Adelaide, or a kind word spoken by an Englishman about a Scotsman ‚?? is totally out of character. ¬†
Mike‚??s an interesting gentleman with a few strings to his bow. ¬†He‚??s a Sydneysider who did a PhD on something to do with blood proteins; travelled to the US for a bit; started then sold a successful environmental testing business; took a few years off and enjoyed himself; built a log cabin from scratch on a 3,500 acre property he and 19 others own in rural New South Wales; started a software business that‚??s going great guns; and plays the odd game of golf. ¬†So he‚??s lived. ¬†And has a few stories to tell.
‚??Twas just as well we had good company today, because had Goldy and I and our dreadful golf been left to our own devices, deep deep depression may have reared its ugly face. ¬†With Mike‚??s chirpy company however, even bad golf was water off a duck‚??s back. ¬†Such are the powers of the man and his chat.
The course was great it must be said. ¬†Certainly one of the strongest we‚??ve played this side of the ditch. ¬†Very much a tree lined layout, demanding precision from the tee. ¬†And from the fairway (if you‚??re lucky enough to hit it on one ‚?? I‚??m ashamed to say I notched up 2 fairways for the stats page today...nothing short of abysmal). ¬†Beginning where we did, at the armpit of the course, it‚??s hard to gather my thoughts about the course, to relay them on to you good people. ¬†I shall do my best.
The 1st as it should be is a gentle introduction; a short, downhill par 4 to a slightly raised green. ¬†My only real memory of the hole was Michael chipping it into the bunker from 10 metres short of the green. ¬†He was not amused. ¬†The architect then takes you on a tour ‚??round the perimeter, the OB fence running precariously along the right hand side of 2, 3, 4 and 5, from memory (just about all of which are dogleg rights). ¬†Having already had my impetuous gripe on this subject I‚??ll say no more. ¬†The 8th was a beauty. ¬†Despite taking a triple bogey 7 (to halve the hole with Mike, Goldy having had a lost ball...) I have very fond memories of the way the fairway meanders gently down to a creek, only to rise gently for 30 metres or so up to the well guarded green. ¬†One of the better short par 4s we‚??ve played outside of the sandbelt.
Number 10 is an interesting hole ‚?? if anything because it used to be 2 holes (9 & 10) that have now been combined into one (another par 3 was added on the front because the members didn‚??t like the 9th green being a hike from the clubhouse ‚?? and fair enough too). ¬†The hole is now a sharp dogleg (yes, you guessed it, to the right) framed by a string of bunkers at the elbow and a significant drop in elevation down to the green. ¬†10 was also noteworthy on this fine Sunday because it was the site of my only ‚??fairway + green‚?Ě combo on the stats counter. ¬†I‚??m not joking, sadly.
Goldstein did his best to wriggle the skins match from my grasp, by collecting 5 of the things on the last hole (taking the score to 15 JP; 14 MG). ¬†We both thumped driver over the hill on 12 and ‚?? with tired legs and the prospect of sitting in the clubhouse front of mind ‚?? left our sticks on the tee, carrying only a set of wedges and a putter. ¬†Unhappily I‚??d underestimated the length of the hole (and/or the wind) and needed to hit a very big wedge indeed to get home. ¬†Like, a 135 metre into the wind wedge. ¬†When you‚??re hardly firing on all cylinders. ¬†Predictably I came up short, into the devil grass, and took double. ¬†Mick The Magician wrangled himself a 4 and collected his dues, but came up one short overall. ¬†Not that it mattered to ‚??im ‚?? he never gives up, being the tenacious little blighter that he is.
While prizes were dished out in the clubhouse we sat on the deck and enjoyed the serenity of a beautiful Sydney evening. ¬†Because the waiters ‚?? who were handing round plates of savouries ‚?? were good enough to pay us in the cheap seats a visit, we enjoyed them too (the savouries, that is). ¬†And then we were on our way, back to The Golf Widows for another evening of anything-but-golf-talk. ¬†¬†Angela and Gretta had been to Taronga Zoo, and had a blast. ¬†Throughout the afternoon we‚??d played like monkeys; they‚??d gone one better and played with monkeys. ¬†¬†
Thanks to Concord for being fine hosts, and to Mike for putting up with our putrid golf. ¬†A struggle but an enjoyable one.
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