This morning we again awoke to beaming sunshine, marking the continuation of a purple patch of weather. Long may it continue. Looking out the window over breakfast I gazed longingly at the 11th hole at Paraparam' (which runs adjacent to the Borren household) - we could quite happily have played it again, particularly in the serenity of early morning sun. Alas we had to move on, although there was certainly no hardship in playing at today's venue, Waikanae.
Waikanae is a quaint wee track on the Kapiti Coast, 20 minutes up the road from the neighbouring Paraparam'. It's not quite as linksy, but probably as picturesque. There are a wealth of crafty wee dog legs, and a couple of nice par 3s. The 8th was my favourite - all that was required is a wee flick with a sand wedge (120 metres or so), but the front of the green is guarded by a huge swail. You don't want to be short there, and thankfully Mike and I got onto the dance floor safely. The 13th - which I understand is the signature hole - also stuck in the mind - a testy par 4 played from a raised tee over thick brush.
There are a good few vantage points on the course from which to get quality snaps - if you check out our photo gallery there should be a couple of goodies (as you'll see, the sun was burning bright). The greens were good too - very good in fact. They rolled true, and were quick but not scarily so. Mike capitalised by rolling in a few putts from all over the show (and if he hadn't lipped out a couple of times it would have been just about his best putting display ever, at least that I've seen). I left a few out there.
Before the round we met up with Greg Howard, a nice chap who kindly hooked us up with golf gloves for the year. His company, TrueGRIP, makes the possum skin gloves that you may have seen - they're pretty durable, and silky soft. Looking forward to getting a fair bit of mileage out of mine, and hope they stand up to the hell I'll put 'em through. Mine had to go back in the bag today on the 11th, as Goldy made a 2nd birdie. I'll explain: on the 8th hole, we decided that - as today's challenge - for every birdie one made, the other chap had to lose an item of clothing (including hats and gloves). Silly really, but a bit of fun. Mike birdied the 9th (there went my cap), then the 11th (the glove); next it was going to be a sock, which might have aggravated my blistered heels. Thankfully his birdies dried out, but I came back with 2 of my own, on the 15th and 16th (his hat and glove went too) - no birdies on 17 or 18, however, a bit of an anti-climax.
Post golf we shot into Waikanae town to pick up some groceries (couldn't get over the average age of the inhabitants - although perhaps not surprising given the golf and benign microclimate), then drove up to Palmerston North, to stay with our mate Rich and his family. Rich is a member of our hockey club in Wellington, and is an enterprising young chap if ever there was one. In recent years he's had a real fruit ice cream business that he ran with friends over summer, and now he's importing emergency survival packs that he's going to sell to every man and his dog. I reckon we'll be seeing his face on billboards in no time at all (or on TV cameras when he's coming out of court in 20 years for running a dodgy finance company). He and his folks have been incredibly hospitable already, and we're about to have a BBQ in the evening sun. Epic.
Another great day on the road, one of our last in NZ before we hit Auckland. Play Waikanae if you get the chance - a nice wee course in a nice spot (and invariably you'll get a nice day).
P.S. JP 35 points, MG 32 points. Think we've filled you in on the haggle for this month, but in case we haven't... February is stableford month, so the player with the highest cumulative score over 28 days will win (obviously the other will have to do a forfeit - input invited). To keep it fresh, we've been running a daily comp (i.e. the highest stableford score on the day), the loser of which has to chow down 2 dry weetbix. No liquid for 1 minute afterwards. JP has won 2 days of 4; MG 1 (and 1 halved).
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