When I stepped onto the 1st tee at Rosebud Country Club this morning, I was gripped by deja vous. ¬†Having played Rosebud‚??s South Course yesterday, and not for the first time on this trip been well and truly beaten, today we tried to get one back on the place by tackling the North Course ‚?? which looked very similar (hence the deja vu), if not a little harder. ¬†If I was being entirely honest ‚?? and I always am ‚?? the front 9 (the Green 9) could easily have been pulled straight from little brother South. ¬†Pleasant without being too challenging. ¬†The fairways are wide; the bunkering mild; and the greens, for the most part, gentle (albeit slippery). ¬†Michael and I hardly tore it up ‚?? but that‚??s by the by. ¬†The back 9 (the Red 9), I‚??m pleased to report was more my type of course, demanding pretty careful shot selection off the tee (particularly if you hit a draw, because there are a few dogleg rights) and into the green. ¬†There were more elephants in the Red greens too, aggravating Michael‚??s putting woes (he had 44 today, including putts from the fringe) and, to a lesser extent, mine.
My take on Rosebud is that it must cater pretty well to its constituents. ¬†If you‚??re 20 years old, hit the ball 300 metres off the tee and play off a 1.2 handicap, playing your golf down the road at one of the championship courses on the Peninsula might make more sense than Rosebud. ¬†But not everyone‚??s Tiger Woods, and for a lot of people ‚?? certainly a good few people that we‚??ve met, particularly back home in NZ ‚?? there‚??s a lot to be said for benign golf played in pleasant surroundings, where one doesn‚??t have to spend 10 minutes after every tee shot looking for that wee white thing. ¬†God knows I‚??ve spent enough time doing that this year to last me a lifetime. ¬†A reflection that takes me to another. ¬†Bare with me. ¬†
When I was a whippersnapper, growing up playing golf on Saturday mornings after short tennis and before football, one of life‚??s great pleasures was finding a new golf ball in the rough. ¬†And one of life‚??s great tragedies was farewelling a recently purchased (or gifted, or even won) ball before its time. ¬†Devastating. ¬†I wondered at the time whether the force of these emotions would subside as I grew longer in the tooth; surely the rollercoaster, like most things as you grow older, would mellow. ¬†Not a bit of it. ¬†Having found a couple of brand new Titleist Pro V1s in recent days ‚?? and lost a couple to balance the equation ‚?? I can say with utter sincerity that the rollercoaster is as thrilling as ever. ¬†Entirely irrational, because I‚??ve probably got more golf balls than I know what to do with. ¬†Pavlovian conditioning, perhaps? ¬†(Didn‚??t pay a huge amount of attention in Psyc 104 all those years ago, so this suggestion may be well off the mark). ¬†You may think I‚??m mad. ¬†You may be right. ¬†But when I find a new Pro V1 the flame of excitement still burns as brightly as it did all those years ago. ¬†
Speaking of emotional rollercoasters, I might also share with you the happenings of our afternoon spent doorknocking along the Mornington Peninsula, hoping to catch someone at a weak moment that would let us rest our heads at their establishment for a night (gratis). ¬†On the back of a couple of minor successes (the good people at the Riviera Motel in Lakes Entrance, and at Rosebud Caravan Park in, erm, Rosebud, kindly put us poor souls up without charge), our tails were up. ¬†When you‚??re spending 365 days on the road, you can‚??t very well pay for accommodation, can you? ¬†Certainly not on our budget. ¬†So. ¬†A‚?? doorknocking we went. ¬†It didn‚??t go well, to the point where Mike got increasingly despondent but by some freaky force of nature I fed off his despondence to become more optimistic and enthusiastic as the sun lowered itself over the bay. ¬†Jekyll and Hyde, if you like. ¬†I found myself telling our story to what seemed like scores of hoteliers, while my sidekick smiled obligingly and tried to look like he wasn‚??t going to slit his wrists when we exited with tails between our legs like a pair of recently scolded Labradors. ¬†
By about the 14th rejection, we eventually called it quits. ¬†I‚??ve never had a day like that before, and maybe never will. ¬†Strangely the experience was an enjoyable one; certainly it was a position I‚??d never pictured myself in, and in a way I felt like the happenings of this afternoon were happenings for someone else, not me. ¬†But what doesn‚??t kill you makes you stronger. ¬†And by happy coincidence we now find ourselves in the company of a good bunch of people in Mornington, courtesy of www.couchsurfers.org. ¬†
Rich and his girlfriend, Sally, are our kind hosts tonight (along with flatmate Jasmine). ¬†Mike and I are 2 of 6 couchsurfers in the house tonight ‚?? the other 4 all being French, a couple and two lads. ¬†Charles, one of the Frenchmen, is a character: resident chef and resident smartass. ¬†He loves to peel potatoes, the first person I‚??ve met with this particular passion. ¬†Tonight‚??s dinner is bubbling away under Charles‚?? watchful eye, while the others practice their tightrope walking skills outside in the garden. ¬†It‚??s a mild night here, and I couldn‚??t be more content. ¬†Playing astronomically good golf courses during the day, then relaxing with down to earth backpackers (and locals) in modest surroundings by night is a contrasting but unusually exciting and satisfying experience. ¬†We‚??re leading an interesting existence at the moment, Michael and I. ¬†Couple this juxtaposition with our growing media profile over here ‚?? we were contacted today by the main breakfast TV show over here (Sunrise) and by Channel 10‚??s Sports Tonight Show, both of whom will be doing a segment on us next week ‚?? and life is truly surreal right now. ¬†We hardly have a dollar to our name ‚?? after having lived well for a couple of years as young corporate lawyers ‚?? but are tremendously rich in other ways. ¬†Life is full of contrasts. ¬†
P.S. Match halved 1.5 each: JP wins putting, MG wins Greens in Reg, Fairways halved (with a meagre 7 each). ¬†MG having lost the putting had the privilege of standing over a 4 footer (downhill, right to left ‚?? not his favourite) on the practice green afterwards, needing to sink 10 in a row before he could move on. ¬†It wasn‚??t pretty, and took a while. ¬†But he needs the practice. ¬†(As I do with Greens in Reg ‚?? 4 on the front 9, none on the back....!)
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