This day ‚?? Day 141 ‚?? is a paradigm example of how, sometimes, life just pans out beautifully. ¬†Until yesterday there was no scheduled round of golf for today (yes, sometimes we leave it to the last minute!) - but then we were fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Chris Adams, an affable LA native. ¬†Chris is a long-time friend of our good host, John, who made the introduction. ¬†The four of us ducked ‚??round the corner to Starbucks yesterday morning (as you do, in these parts) and chewed the fat for an hour or so over our liquid breakfasts. ¬†Chris played a fair bit of golf ‚?? say 3 or 4 times a week ‚?? until 3 and a half years ago when (you guessed it) his daughter was born. ¬†Now outings to the Country Club are few and far between ‚?? a sad fact that I‚??m sure many out there can relate to. ¬†(Sadly we can‚??t, at present).
Vague plans had been hatched to have a hit at LACC today, but that prospect was beginning to look less and less likely as the hours rolled by. ¬†So when Chris generously offered to take us down to Wilshire Country Club ‚?? which his family house overlooks; his current apartment overlooks (from the other side of the course); and at which his father and brothers are members ‚?? we couldn‚??t refuse. ¬†On the contrary we were delighted. ¬†¬†Apart from being a thing of beauty, the club‚??s also only about 5 blocks from John‚??s house, where we‚??re camped out. ¬†Ah how the stars can align...
After an evening of fun and games yesterday at Bel-Air CC with Will & Danny, Mick and I didn‚??t feel like too much adventure this morning, instead preferring a couple of hours‚?? administration on the MacBooks before meeting Chris. ¬†Recharge the batteries ‚??n‚?? all. ¬†Saturday would be our day for sightseeing ‚?? although as it turned out we ended up taking a fair bit in from the course itself (more on that shortly). ¬†
When Dodgy pulled into the Country Club, the lads at the security gate sprung into action. ¬†Thankfully Chris had warned ‚??em that a couple of plucky Kiwis ‚?? that are playing golf every day for a year ‚?? would be rolling up any minute in a van that could only be described as, well, dodgy. ¬†So we were ushered through to the car park and did our best to park out of sight, under a tree. ¬†Stealthy stuff indeed. ¬†Chris emerged from the shadows of the clubhouse and met us out front, evidently as excited about a spot of golf as we were. ¬†It being very much his home turf (despite his lack of golf of late) he introduced us to more or less everyone on the premises, all of whom were delightful and supportive of our endeavour. ¬†
Crucially a tank of iced tea appeared outside the snack hut, providing much needed hydration on a hot day. ¬†Never been a tea drinker myself, but the iced form really is the perfect tonic for a thirsty golfer. ¬†I slurped mine down more or less before we got to the 1st tee (which is found through a WWII bunker-like tunnel over the other side of the Beverley Boulevard). ¬†Victor, from El Salvador, was our caddie. ¬†And ‚?? though his yardages were less convincing than Sarah Palin ‚?? a delightful chap he was too. ¬†(He sometimes got confused between ‚??one hundred and...yards‚?Ě and ‚??two hundred and...yards‚?Ě - which makes things difficult when you‚??re playing a course for the first time...although if that‚??s the worst of our worries then life‚??s not too bad).
Mick and I both opened our accounts with a cheeky birdie on number 1, which was promising. ¬†Little did we know that in the coming hours Wilshire‚??s bunkers would wreak havoc with our scorecard and ruin what might have been... ¬†Chris delivered some interesting history lessons on the way round, as well as a few life lessons on his experience in business ‚?? also very interesting stuff. ¬†Before today I‚??d had no idea that LA was an oil town; Chris pointed out old photos in the clubhouse later of the course in its infancy, with great big drilling platforms in the background. ¬†The tee markers on course are old drill bits, a nice touch. ¬†
From the fairways we saw the famous Hollywood letters up on the hill; Howard Hughes‚?? old house, which looked alright; and, as I mentioned before, Chris‚?? residences past and present. ¬†What a beautiful area; hard to believe we were smack bang in the middle of the sprawling urban jungle that is Los Angeles. ¬†
I must also mention the greens, for they might just be the best we‚??ve played on this year. ¬†Seriously. ¬†Fast, true and undulating without being tricked up ‚?? putting was a real treat today. ¬†A handful of putts rolled in from 20, 30 or 40 feet, marking a nice change from the putting drought that I‚??ve been plagued by of late. ¬†It wasn‚??t just me at it either ‚?? Mike also had his share, and Chris rattled one in for a memorable birdie on 16. ¬†Poor Chris will also remember Friday 21 May 2010 as The Day He Visited Every Single Bunker At Wilshire Country Club. ¬†Just as well he‚??s got a good sense of humour.
After taking two to get out of a sandtrap on consecutive holes my patience was beginning to wear thin ‚?? but our man Chris took it all in his stride (or at least did a great job in pretending!). ¬†I‚??ve never seen so many bunkers, and certainly wasn‚??t expecting the barrage of the buggers we were confronted with on ‚??most every tee. ¬†Being straight off the tee really is an advantage here, more so than a lot of the courses we‚??ve played. ¬†Wilshire‚??s not long, so if you stick the wee white thing on the fairway more often than not then, as us Kiwis say, ‚??you‚??ll be ‚??right.‚?Ě ¬†
From memory my pal and me ended up with 78 and 77 respectively, which was respectable. ¬†Had those pernicious bunkers not interfered with play the numbers might‚??ve been closer to par, but there you go. ¬†C‚??est la vie. ¬†
In keeping with the trend I‚??ve set, of late, of making note of a particularly delicious snack or drink to remember the golf clubs we visit by, I will now very briefly describe for you The Best Hot Dog I‚??ve Ever Had. ¬†Period (as the locals say). ¬†When Thomas handed over a very plain looking offering across the counter (we paused after 9 for replenishment), I must say my heart sank. ¬†Then I discovered behind me a hodgepodge of treats destined for the inner walls of my dog. ¬†To my delight I found pickles, peppers, jalapenos, exotic looking yellow chillies, mustards and the like. ¬†By the time I‚??d worked my way along to the last container my dog was nearly 5 kilos in weight. ¬†But God it was tasty. ¬†Like the burger at Olympic (in San Fran) it was iconic. ¬†Speaking of iconic we were also fortunate enough to enjoy our first root beer (A&W, of course) on the deck once we finished. ¬†I fancy I‚??m going to be downing a few more of those before we leave New York on 12 July. ¬†¬†¬†
Chris really was a wonderful host, and a very interesting guy indeed. ¬†Hopefully he‚??ll make it down to NZ so we can repay his kind hospitality, although I‚??m not sure where we‚??ll be able to find a hot dog of comparable calibre. ¬†Chris was also generous enough to pledge a donation to The First Tee, to help nudge our donation bar (up there in the top right corner of the page you‚??re staring at) a little further to the right. ¬†If you‚??re reading this and can spare ten or twenty bucks, or even more, The First Tee could sure use ‚??em, to help kids from tough backgrounds get into golf and learn the lessons it teaches us. ¬†
Thanks again Chris ‚?? Day 141 was a real pleasure.
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