Sorry about the delay in this blog post - things have been hectic! Plenty more blogs up tomorrow morning - we're now in Wanaka after the most amazing drive down the West Coast today.¬†
Coming back to NZ we‚??re revisiting folks who helped us out on our journey some 11 months ago.¬† Little has changed in NZ over the course of the year, well little has changed in the North Island anyway. It might be a different story when we get to Christchurch and see the impact of the earthquake (and emotionally the impact of Pike River Coal).
So this morning we woke at our favourite dairy farm, the Le Herons joint in Morrinsville.¬† We even got the morning off milking the cows and after a massive sleep we were rejuvenated.¬† Needed to be rejuvenated after a heavy few days to start the final NZ leg.
The Le Herons place was humming with friends down from Auckland and all the family.¬† Our friend Si has just landed a dream job with the huge dairy co-operative in NZ, Fonterra, which is fantastic news.
After a real farmers breakfast, and some computer repairs from none other than Luce (genius graphic designer who whipped up the very puregolf2010.com), we made the forty minute drive through the barren pastures of the Waikato to St Andrews Golf Club.
There, we were joined by a few groups of members and ended up making up a five-ball joined by Bart, Ben Van den Borst and the head greenkeeper from Lochiel named Lincoln.¬† St Andrews is the premier course in Hamilton and is a nice layout along the Waikato river which rolls through the city of Hamilton.¬† Like the surrounding farms it has been pretty dry here and the surrounds of the course were particularly burnt off.¬† Fortunately the fairways were lush as were the greens, although the Poanna grass does not cope to well when the temperature gets over 24 degrees.¬† It‚??s been over 24 degrees for a while here so the greens had a few bumps to them although normally they‚??re some of the best in NZ.¬†
Unlike many local courses in NZ, the layout is more than just holes framed by trees.¬†¬† The main feature of St Andrews is the bunkering which is almost reminiscent of the sandbelt bunkering in Melbourne.¬† The pots around the green are deep, well constructed and, at times pretty classy.¬† For example three short par fours on the front nine, 5, 7 and 8 which all looked easy on the card and were straight holes on unspectacular land and yet all made our eyes prick up and take notice.¬† Generally, however, there were too many trees and the course could do with less of these aerial hazards and more on the ground, particularly around the greens.¬†¬† Interestingly, the course finishes with a par three played over one of the most intimidating bunkers in NZ golf.¬† The green is elevated over this bunker and has a bit of ‚??something something‚?? to it as a finishing hole ‚?? which is unusual for a par three!
After the round, Malcolm, the GM arranged for a few drinks and for us to share some words with the members.¬† A few stories were shared, questions were answered and some kind donations were made to TFT.¬†¬† Over the course of the day Malcolm was a superb help and our huge thanks go out to both him and the club at large for hosting us today.¬†
After the round, we drove to Wellington.¬† This is a long way ‚?? some 6 hours. And so at around 2am I climbed into my own bed in Wellington where Gretta has been waiting, stoically.¬† Unapologetically I woke her up. It's not something I care to write about on this blog but spending the year apart from G has been pretty tough for both of us and so it was really cool to finally be back in Welly with her. ¬†
Until tomorrow.... where we're going to be thrown off a bridge in Otago.... good night.
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