Today yielded a perfect illustration of just how funny a game golf can be. 'Twas a beautiful moment, it has to be said.
For the first 15 holes today at Twin Waters Michael played less than his best golf. Actually that's putting it a bit mildly - he was pretty awful, by his own admission. He took to lying on his back on the edge of greens, at times, looking to the skies for inspiration. But as it happens, he found it.
Standing on the 16th tee he was 16 skins to 4 down for the day. He then hit a(nother) snap cut with his butter knife off the tee, into the hazard, and I hit a soaring driver over the fairway traps to within 9 iron range. Then the TV cameras turned up. Ha. Mick took a drop, got it on the green for 4, and drained a 40 footer - after calling it - for bogey. I pulled my 9 iron into the heavy couch pin high left, hacked it up there to 15 feet and missed - so hole halved, 2 skins carry forward. No worries. I'll get 'em off the rascal on the next.
We then halve the 17th - a long par 3, over 200 metres - in par. And on 18 tee he calls it, that if he makes eagle he would get 10 skins (2 for 16, 2 for 17, 3 for 18 and a bonus 3 for the eagle). At the time we thought i was only on 15, so this would end the match at 15-14, a dam site closer than the scales were sitting as we stood there on the tee. He wouldn't pull it off anyway - 18's a long-ish par 5 that's quite tight off the tee, and plays to a raised green. Struggle to get on in two, so phat chance of eagle. Especially when he was 15 over par through 17. Pull the other one mate.
We both hit good tee shots to about 230 metres out, on the fairway. It's slightly into the wind, so I bang 2 iron down to within about 50 metres. He climbs all over his and gets 20 metres closer, to 30 short. I pitch to 25 feet - not a very inspiring effort but there you have it. So the stage is set. And Win TV's cameras are rolling (they've followed us up the last 3 holes, and are now perched greenside filming our every move). (Win TV being the local TV crowd that do the TV news).
Goldstein steps up to his ball, hits a low fizzing pitch, and drains it! From 20 metres. Up an undulating green to a back pin. When he has been playing like a pigmy hippo. As I said before, a beautiful moment. Had it not been for his brother's defunct TV set (we're staying with Henry for a week), we would have relived the moment on the news (surely they included his masterpiece in the segment) at 6.30. But we didn't so we'll just have to rely on memory. And it was beautiful. And it just goes to show that golf is a funny game. My 76 won me only 16 skins to his 14 (with an 85) - just as well we weren't playing for money, otherwise he would have robbed me of a few bob!
Fair play to the man. At least it cheered him up, and made him tolerable company for the afternoon. Had his form continued throughout the entire round I might have dropped him by the side of the road on the way home, so he could walk back and ponder his gloom...
Now that our wee anecdote is out of the way, I better tell you a bit about Twin Waters. Well, it's a fine resort track; quite generous off the tees; possessive of mildly undulating greens; and a very hospitable place indeed. They work with the other clubs round these parts in offering package deals, so yoos fullas in Kiwi Land (that's how Aussies refer to our Great Country, or miniscule quasi-State of Australia, as they see it) and elsewhere around Aussie can come here in the winter and enjoy sunshine and golf on the Sunnie Coast at dam seductive prices. Ask Maxine.
Maxine, the TW marketing manager, had coordinated our visit, and came to meet us on the 16th with Steve from Win TV. A delightful Aucklander (never thought I'd say that), is Maxine. And we had a very warm welcome from Mark in the pro shop too.
There had been a frog massacre, by the way. Not sure how these poor little creatures had come to their sticky end, but their carcasses lined a good few fairways. It made me awfully sad, seeing these dead frogs. For some reason frogs seem to strike an emotional chord, much like penguins. Did you know it's psychologically impossible to be angry while looking at a penguin? True.
But I digress. The course was done some 40 years ago by Japanese developers, and the land around it has been developed resort-styles, although tastefully so. The houses don't encroach onto the fairways as they do at other courses - something Mick and I both detest. The current Japanese owner, we were told, had a hankering for fountains - so they put one in in the middle of the driving range (which is a lake). Apparently the fountain also serves the dual purpose of aerating the water, preventing weed build up. So there you go - I was paying attention to Maxine's words of wisdom. If only I'd paid so much attention back in school...
After golf we sat 'round and chewed the fat on the clubhouse deck with a couple of young blokes we'd run into on the course, Angus & Morry. Morry's a pro and had a few good stories to tell about life on the road. Angus was toying with the idea of heading to Scotland for The Open in July - as we are - so I tried to twist his arm a bit further. We may see him over there. The world's a small place.
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