It took us a good while to cotton on to this idiosyncrasy. ¬†Typically I don‚??t find ‚??Strayan proper nouns to be overly nuanced on the pronunciation front ‚?? what you see is usually what you get. ¬†Like Australians themselves, come to think of it. ¬†But Lake Karrinyup on the outskirts of Perth is a different beastie, straight out of the Gullane (‚??Gill-In‚?Ě) or Hunstanton (‚??Hunstan‚?Ě) school of weirdness: all together now, ‚??Karrin-Nupp‚?Ě. ¬†In the days preceding our visit to this illustrious icon of West Australian golf, I was beginning to wonder if the locals were orally challenged, or whether they just spoke so quickly that you couldn‚??t hear the elusive Y. ¬†Nope. ¬†By the time the penny dropped I‚??d already made a buffoon out of myself probably a dozen times (what‚??s new?). ¬†If anything I‚??d embraced the Y and given it extra emphasis.
Let‚??s put semantics to one side for now though, and talk about TKE (as I have creatively dubbed The Karrinyup Experience, acronyms being the latest party trick in my arsenal of Trying To Keep Your Attention For Just A Few More Weeks). ¬†You won‚??t hear much dissent against claims that LK is the premier Gowf Establishment in WA. ¬†And so it was with great excitement that I opened my Macbook to discover an email from one Ken Wong, inviting us to join him and mate Alan for a hit. ¬†The delightful novelty of receiving these emails has in no way faded. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
Because the ‚??Strayan private clubs in their deity have decided to depart from 14th century traditions only gradually, ankle socks just don‚??t cut it with shorts. ¬†You need mid or full length jobs ‚?? white, of course ‚?? concealing the indecency of your ankle bone if you don‚??t want a scrap with the Gestapo. ¬†(No prizes for guessing who wins that scrap too...). ¬†Anyway I‚??ve now come to accept this ridiculous prejudice against ankle bones as just plain ‚??Strayan and no longer gripe about it daily as I once did (quite a feat for a Scot). ¬†Instead I prefer to stir the pot by wearing inflammatory logos. ¬†The most recent addition to the underwear pocket of my ‚??pack is a pair of Royal Fremantle numbers, a generous gift from host Ned Stokes (suspect he just didn‚??t want to wear them again after my athlete‚??s foot riddled paws had been in ‚??em). ¬†I believe wearing them to Royal Perth and LK is akin to wearing a Celtic strip in The Wrong Part Of Glasgow. ¬†Fortunately however I didn‚??t get stabbed for the indiscretion.
The first thing that struck me about LK was the family atmosphere. ¬†It‚??s a country club, you see ‚?? although some CCs can be a bit stuffy. ¬†Not this one. ¬†Little tykes running around or at least threatening to burst into a purposeful step. ¬†The short course at their disposal. ¬†¬†A big red see saw in the courtyard. ¬†(Well, not the see saw actually). ¬†But you get the point. ¬†If I was a kid in Perth, Karrinyup would be the club I‚??d hope ‚??daddy‚?Ě belonged to. ¬†
When we arrived there was a champagne breakfast going on ‚?? as far as I could make out, for no particular reason. ¬†Perhaps this crowd were celebrating not being disturbed by ¬†the Christ The King congregation‚??s procession that passed Ned & Martha‚??s front door step? ¬†Hmmmmmmm. ¬†Anyway we didn‚??t disturb them, instead opting to make full use of the empty dining room inside. ¬†Chicken wraps and a bottle of Kooyong pinot noir provided ample stomach lining for a birdie festival. ¬†Or so they were meant to. ¬†From our vantage point we spotted a garrison of lady golfers marking their territory on the 1st tee. ¬†Judging by the brightly coloured Ralph Lauren uniforms they were donning with distinction ‚?? I know I‚??m entering dangerous territory here, but I find that the more immaculate a woman is turned out on the golf course, the less immaculate her shots tend to be ‚?? we all agreed it would be quicker to tee off the 10th. ¬†Several other thickets of men also had the same idea (corroborating my theory).
Straight away we got a flavour of what LK was all about. ¬†Namely sharp changes in altitude demanding soundness of judgment and distance control. ¬†Be it elevated tee shots to fairways 40 yards below or pitches up into the clouds, pure striking is the imperative. ¬†Fortunately for me most holes that veer one way or t‚??other veer left, allowing me to snap a few hooks and look like I meant it. ¬†No doubt Ken and Alan being perceptive men of intelligence could pick a Gid Bad Ain when they saw ‚??un tho. ¬†However.
As you can see below, Ken is a cautious creature and deviates from the red lines painted around the course only when absolutely necessary. ¬†¬†
The day grew steamier and so too did the shadows under the pits of our arms. ¬†Gazing deliriously at the supernatural ‚??Black Boys‚?Ě (these days known instead as ‚??Grass Trees‚?Ě in the interests of healthy race relations) I was not myself but rather Johnny Depp‚??s character in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. ¬†God they are strange things. ¬†A bulbous ball of tussock grass forms the bulk of the ‚??tree‚?Ě ‚?? suspended some 3-6 feet off the ground ‚?? and out of that grows a cactus-like organism (at 2cm a year) reminiscent of a furry popsicle. ¬†See below. ¬†Also see the marvellous pink flowers whose name as ever escapes me.
Between the grass trees then and the ‚??roos roaming the fairways (Joeys in tow) it was a surreal episode of heat exhaustion ‚??Strayan style. ¬†One Joe in particular caught my eye as he searched for his car keys (below).
Ken & Alan as it happened were tremendous company. ¬†Because Michael‚??s been diagnosed about 56 times this year as having a gigantic melanoma on his nose, I had fun drawing Alan into offering some dermatological advice. ¬†Cut it off, he suggested. ¬†I agreed and offered my services as anaesthetist, surgeon, post-op nurse and therapist. ¬†Having been confronted with the unseemly brown growth for 328 days now I‚??d be glad to see the back of it to be honest. ¬†But I digress. ¬†
After putting the final nail into the coffin of my calf muscles by walking up the 8th and 9th (our final holes and bonnie ones at that) it was a minor miracle I made it to the bar. ¬†Then again we were thirstier than Dodgy Itself (wonder how he‚??s getting on these days; whether the Swiss got across the US?). ¬†Perched in the courtyard with a pint of Cascade Pale Ale I took in a deep breath, surveyed the situation, and acknowledged to The Idiot Within that Life is never going to be the same again! ¬†
Ken being the consummate gentleman took us back to his place to clean up before dinner. ¬†At the local Chinese joint we devoured enough food to feed Sezchuan Province for a week. ¬†And sipped a couple of bottles of Australia‚??s finest red (Ken‚??s quite the collector / aficionado, and fortunately it was BYO). ¬†The long and the short: we were entertained famously by this delightful pair of men; our Sunday at LK will live long in the memory bank. ¬†There‚??s even talk of joining up for a few days‚?? golf next year on the Mornington Peninsula!
A thank you of Burj Khalifa proportions, then, to The Good Doctors. ¬†See you when we see you!
(A dehydrated, sunburnt and delirious) JP¬†
Posting comments has been disabled.