The windscreen wipers were on again as we wound our way towards Riversdale Beach at the crack of dawn. Mike wasn't sure whether it was worth making the two hour round trip, but having played at Riversdale I knew we were in for a good morning. All the more so because we were joined by Tone Borren and his friend Dave. Tone is the uncle of a friend of Mike's, and part of the pretty amazing Borren clan. They're all good golfers, and handy hockey players too (two of Tone's brothers won Olympic Golds at Montreal in '76; he was in the final 18 of that squad, but missed out when they cut it to 16). Their talents go beyond sport too - the ones I have met are CEOs and revered businessmen. My playing partner Dave was no slouch either - himself CEO of a water management company in the Wellington region. So we were in good company.
Riversdale is a 9 hole course, and opens with two short par 4s (the first is less than 200m; the second, stroke 1, is not much longer). The rest are par 3s - and again, mostly short. Par 58. A welcome change from some of the monsters we have played in recent weeks. Riversdale itself is primarily a holiday destination for Wellingtonians, and I imagine doesn't have much of a permanent population. So the course really caters for families playing holiday golf - mum, dad and the kids. As Tone remarked, it's the perfect course to learn the game on; it's short enough not to be soul destroying for those that can't hit it 200 metres.
There are one or two bunkers to keep you honest, and if the wind really gets up scoring well can be difficult. In today's wet conditions, the ball nearly stopped where it landed. Thankfully, once Mike and I cottoned on, a few birdies followed. I think we managed 3 each, which is better than our birdie average of late. Tone had 5 - and on the second 9 was draining putts from right, left and centre. Not surprisingly, then, he and Mike beat Dave and I - a result helped by some uncanny combinations between the two (if Mike birdied a hole, Tone would birdie the next, and so on).
After drying off we zipped 100 metres down the road to Tone's bach, who kindly put on morning tea to replenish us before the drive south. Good coffee and delicious home baking was comforting after a wet morning out on the course. We could happily have stayed around for hours, but for duties down in Wellington: removals duties to be specific (our girlfriends moved into a new flat today). Nice to be back for a stint in the bright lights after 17 days in the wilderness. Even nicer to see our beloved golf widows.
A great day all round.
PS. JP won 3&2, taking the year's score to 12-5 JP. 1 shank to report (from MG, with a wedge, which went into the bunker - although he got up and down to his credit). No 3 putts. No holes in one. Lots of laughs.
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