We‚??ve learn plenty about The West the last few days.¬† That Fremantle has one E.¬† That it‚??s a powerhouse of the Aussie economy and one of the wealthiest places in the world.¬† And that expats are common and the ‚??kiwi‚?? is not such a rare creature here - much to the angst of a few locals.
The Royal Fremantle GC sits in the middle of Fremantle, a small manageable satellite town from Perth that is now entirely surrounded by urban development but yet retains an alternative, hippy and distinctively local charm. ¬†¬†
We were up and playing early at Royal ‚??Freo‚?? so the Doctor was not yet at work.¬† He normally makes it in around midday, like clockwork during the summer months, and works away with increasing force until late in the night.¬†¬† Yesterday Alan told me that the Doctor is the main reason why daylight savings has been rejected here during three separate referendums ‚?? it‚??s better to have the daylight in the morning during the best part of the day before the wind whips up.¬†
Like Lake Karrinyup, Royal Fremantle is on a large undulating piece of land so holes are seriously influenced by the terrain.¬† However I think the routing of the front nine at Freo might be superior as the holes seem to always be winding through the trees in differing directions.¬† Admittedly the back nine has a bit of ‚??up and back‚?? but generally it‚??s a quality layout.
The course isn‚??t incredibly long and would be described as a local or members course.¬† The best kind of golf in my opinion! Our match started with a hiss and a roar as Ned and Bart began their rematch against puregolf in style.¬† They had plenty to prove after their dismal showing at The Cut and that they did as Ned was a new man at his home course.¬†¬† Drives were shaped with the fairways, barely a shot was missed and even his one handed chipping was On Song. ¬†
Bart even found form as he birdied three of the first six holes without missing a shot.¬†¬† The opening holes featured traditional features such as dogleg holes,¬† ‚??Ozzie bunkering (which after traveling the world over is still something special‚??) and small and simplistic greens.¬† After combining for 5 birdies in the first six holes we were rolling along nicely until we got to the par three 8th‚?¶¬†
The 8th is one of two holes that have been redesigned.¬† A short par three at around 140m, from the tee (pictured below) it looks like a glorious hole as the green angles away to the right and is protected by two front bunkers.¬† Us three young‚??uns missed the green - inexcusable but probably very common for the average player.¬† When we got up we saw that the effective landing area for the tee shot is actually incredibly small as the green is a sloping mess of turf - the kind of thing dreamt up after a particularly nasty night on the turps.¬† Getting up and down is nigh on impossible as well ‚?? particularly from the left as the huge shoulders on the green are too large ‚?? and realistically a ‚??1-in-20‚?Ě proposition.¬† This is too hard ‚?? you have to give people a chance, like they have on the rest of the golf course.¬† You can guess that three double bogeys later we trudged off to the next tee discussing the merits of the hole‚?¶
The course then reverts to type with some charming short par fours, 9 and 10, before the testing up and back duo of par fours 13 and 14 is where a score is made.¬†
[the signature par three 17th]
On the back nine we were joined by the gregarious Georgia who came down to join team puregolf on the backnine to try and wrestle the match away from the Irishman & Bart.¬† Georgia did all she could but unfortunately it was my golf in particular that let down the team (along with the magic of the Irish) as we couldn‚??t claw the deficit back.
But the back nine was all about the Stokes‚?? as this fine morning Ned and Georgia were celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary.¬† And where better than at Royal Fremantle GC with a couple of vagabonds from New Zealand?
The 15th is the other hole that has been redesigned ‚?? a quirky uphill par four with a blind tee shot and water looming on the right.¬† The green can be reached down the (now strong) breeze for the really long hitters.¬† The green is very firm, like the 8th but appears to be flatter and more playable. Particularly for a short par four, and so it gets the thumbs up from me.
The finish is classical Freo stuff with the index one 16th hole swerving through the bush, the picturesque par three 17th where from the tee you look out across the ocean, and then the dogleg right par five 18th played back down to the clubhouse.¬† Handshakes and photographs later on the green our WA leg was over!!
But the back nine was all about the Stokes‚?? as this fine morning Ned and Georgia were celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary.¬† And where better than at Royal Fremantle GC with a couple of vagabonds from New Zealand? ¬†¬†¬†We have got a few gents in trouble this year dragging them out to the golf course when they ought be doing other things, so it was great that we could reverse this trend and have Georgia out too at least for the back nine as we played as a 5!!¬†¬† Our time in WA has been a hugely successful and fun few days primarily thanks to the Stokes.¬† It‚??s been great to meet you guys and we‚??re hugely grateful for your help!¬† As we say often, we‚??ll see you in NZ sooner rather than later hopefully!
To the courtyard ‚?? we weren‚??t to be inside as there was a Serious Function inside ‚?? the cards were signed with JP just missing out on another under par round with a solid 72.¬†¬† The Serious Function?¬† The annual Governors match where the queens representative in WA and 15 colleagues have an afternoon of golf with the members.¬†¬† So the riff raff outside were having a Guinness and complementing our hosts on some spectacular golf and their 43 years of marriage and then we were summonsed.¬† The Governor would like to meet us.¬† And so we stumbled into the Serious Function to silence and many eyes upon us as His Excellency greeted us.¬† We both managed to awkwardly¬† greet him appropriately, JP particularly stammering it out as if the words ‚??your excellency‚?? were not part of the Scottish vocabulary.¬†
John (Club Captain) and Governor, Dr Ken Michael were terrificly positive chaps who made the situation as comfortable as it could be.¬†¬† And then all of a sudden a few words were being spoken about our journey.¬† I think I may have even cracked a joke at some stage‚?¶
The Governor was an awesome guy.¬† Hugely enthusiastic, particularly about young people, he really lit up telling us about a function he held last week which was packed out with bright young West Australians all doing things for the community.¬† He‚??s obviously a guy who has been very successful, has an amazing warmth and goes from function to function impressing people along the way. You might say he‚??s well practiced at it.¬†
Sans golf, we traveled to Melbourne. On the red eye missing a nights sleep and losing 3 hours against the clock. ¬†The most trying flight of the year and yet only 3 and a half hours long‚?¶
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