For years I‚??ve heard mutterings of the virtues of Amberley Beach Golf Club. ¬†It‚??s only 45 minutes north of Christchurch and one of the few courses in Cantabrian parts I‚??ve never managed to play. ¬†The oft-trodden State Highway 1 takes you right through the township, from which it‚??s just a few kilometres to the coast and the golf course. ¬†After refuelling at Patton Palace with porridge and coffee and a glass or three of water to wash away the cobwebs from a late dinner, I was chomping at the bit. ¬†Bring on Amberley Beach.
Proceedings got off to a shaky start though. ¬†The lady in the office hadn‚??t the foggiest who We were or what we were about. ¬†One of the wee voices in my head was telling me that we were supposed to be playing in the Saturday Comp; that we should be waiting around until everyone congregated and getting involved. ¬†However the more forceful of the characters in my cranium begged to differ (he is rather forceful...), instead opting to shoot straight for the 1st tee and get under way before anyone had the opportunity to hold us up. ¬†As a friend of mine says, we weren‚??t there to procreate with spiders. ¬†
Stroke Index 1 straight off the bat. ¬†Not the most difficult ‚??hardest hole‚?Ě we‚??ve come across this year (2 iron, 8 iron, 1.5 putts), perhaps a sign of things to come. ¬†Affirmative. ¬†To the par 5 2nd I hit 3 wood, 5 iron over the back ‚?? and by this time was starting to think we‚??d be in for a birdie festival. ¬†Ha! ¬†At that very point, one is (pardon my French) Screwed. ¬†Then all it takes is a moment of acute frustration (in this case, playing hurriedly through a group and missing out on a straightforward birdie) to derail the whole dam wagon. ¬†Golf...
It‚??s a shame that Amberley Beach, like Waimairi Beach and just about every other golf club in God‚??s Own, has such a strong affinity for trees (pinus radiata at that...). ¬†What would be wonderful views to turquoise waters are obscured by the ghastly fings, and nearly every hole is shaped like the next, by, you guessed it... ¬†I‚??m at risk of having a bee in my bonnet on this account, and so will move swiftly on.
To the back seat of Lucy, our Jucy Campa. ¬†While GB and Goldberg gnattered away up front I gazed out the windae at the hills passing us by and pondered the mysteries of life. ¬†Not one conclusion did I stumble upon. ¬†Perhaps all this golf and socialising is blunting my tools of deduction? ¬†In any case it was with great pleasure that we found ourselves once again in the company of Ernie ‚??Ernesto‚?Ě Poole ‚?? Michael‚??s grandfather. ¬†Unsurprisingly he was to be found on the golf course at Hanmer Springs, the site of many a happy memory for the extended Poole family (and for me on account of several weekend hiatuses throughout University Days).
It being Closing Day for the club season, every man and his dog was getting involved. ¬†At the prizegiving Mike as he is prone to doing got up and spoke a few words, and the good members chucked a couple of hundred bucks into a plastic container. ¬†Generous folks. ¬†Moreover we were included in the dinner festivities, and got stuck in to a solid BBQ feast. ¬†Kiwiana for sure. ¬†Bro.
Thanks to Amberley Beach and to Brian & Co at Hanmer Springs for your hospitality ‚?? epic day under Cantabrian Skies. ¬†
JP ¬† ¬† ¬†
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