puregolf2010‚??s favourite Ginger Haired General Manager Cum Superintendent ‚?? Leo Barber ‚?? was the orchestrator of Super Wednesday on the Kapiti Coast, an hour or so north of Wellington. ¬†With the Interprovincial Champs on at The Spiritual Home of NZ Golf, Paraparaumu Beach, it was tempting for us to come up for a gander. ¬†Problem is we needed to play somewhere nearby to justify the trip. ¬†Enter Kapiti Golf Club, a wee 9 hole track up in the hills above the coast. ¬†Leo waved his magic wand and even took time out of his packed schedule to join us. ¬†So too did T Borren.
Truth be told I‚??d never heard of Kapiti GC, and I dare say a few Wellingtonians might draw a blank too. ¬†Perhaps the locals want to keep it that way. ¬†Theirs is not a championship course by any stretch of the imagination, but like many rural Kiwi tracks it demands some creativity and a good sense of humour. ¬†The cookie crumbles both ways: bad putts can get knocked back on line too...! ¬†Most of the par 4s are driveable, but equally there are small greens and enough hazards to keep your feet on the ground. ¬†
Despite T Borren‚??s incessant sledging Messrs Barber & Patton ‚?? who had taken the moral high ground all day ‚?? found themselves in the privileged state of victory. ¬†The highlight really though was coming up the 9th with 50 half sozzled ladies cheering every stroke. ¬†They were having their Christmas party, and appeared to be having far too much fun. ¬†With paper hats on and wine glasses in hand, their number spilled out onto the deck into an unorthodox formation. ¬†The roar that erupted when my closing birdie putt dropped matched that on the 17th at Celtic Manor just a few months ago...
I said a few muddled words before posing with The Mob for obligatory team photos. ¬†Within 5 minutes a dozen lovely ladies had come up to us with questions and congratulations in equal measure ‚?? and we were presented with a collection they‚??d whipped ‚??round for The First Tee. ¬†It didn‚??t end there either. ¬†We were invited inside for a feed and a thirst quenching ale (the only 4 men allowed inside that day I suspect). ¬†While we munched down our patties, salads and meringues quietly in the corner, All Hell was breaking loose just a few feet away. ¬†It was prizegiving time. ¬†Missiles flew and sharp words of banter were spoken; everyone‚??s obliques were getting sore from the laughter. ¬†Just the sort of club culture that reminds you that golf, like life, should never be taken too seriously.
After the heartwarming episode that was Kapiti it was on down the hill to Pram for the Interprovincial Champs. ¬†Where the proper golfers were playing. ¬†Just over 10 months since our last visit to My Home Club, puregolf2010 returned to Alex Russell‚??s hallowed fairways. ¬†That big ball of gas was burning brightly and the wind getting up ‚?? ideal conditions for a spot of spectating on the links. ¬†Leo and his team had the course looking sublime despite a recent dry spell. ¬†When I managed to concentrate long enough to actually watch someone strike a putt ‚?? these JPs take 14-16 minutes to prepare for every shot... ‚?? I was nervous on the players‚?? behalf, the greens appearing to be quicker than glass but marginally slower than black ice. ¬†I say marginally. ¬†
Throughout the year Mike and I have reflected on just what a good track PB is, and this visit only served to reinforce that adoration. ¬†The fact you could see all the action from just two or three vantage points helped too. ¬†How sad it was that the rain came in spades that NZ Open when Tiger was down. ¬†I for one would love to see The Open return down this way sooner rather than later; it‚??s one of only a few courses in the country that can foot it with The Big Boys overseas. ¬†
Out on course we spotted one Simon Hollyer, playing #5 for Otago. ¬†The cheeky wee man that we met over in Melbourne ‚?? while he was working for Taylor Made ‚?? looked well in control, and odds on favourite to give us a hiding in Wanaka next week! ¬†I argued with Leo for a while about whether to cut down the Norfolk Pines standing regally atop the dunes (he‚??s for, I‚??m agin). ¬†Mind you he‚??s the GM / Super, so I‚??m fighting an uphill battle. ¬†Various other improvements came out of the Patton Goldstein Design Team, some pricking Leo‚??s ears, others falling by the wayside. ¬†In two young ex-lawyers / seasoned golf travellers he may have a couple of antagonistic members on his hands in 2011! ¬†Once we get the incoming Chris Barnard (of Kingsbarns fame) onside too, the uprising may begin...at least we‚??ll have plenty fodder to throw about between hands of poker and glasses of red wine on Friday nights...
Thanks go to the ladies of Kapiti GC for their incredible welcome, and to LB@PB for his orchestration of Super Wednesday, a gem of a day out of the city. ¬†What fun.
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