Having heard that Manukau GC‚??s future is somewhat up in the air, puregolf2010 thought we‚??d nip down to play the course while it‚??s still there. ¬†Word on the street was it‚??s rather handy too. ¬†The club was good enough to squeeze us into a full Saturday field, and took the risk of handing us a microphone in the clubhouse when all and sundry were gathered. ¬†Given our ineptitude for public speaking this was indeed a leap of faith ‚?? as a member, trying to enjoy a well earned pint of Heavy while some little ex-lawyer is rabbiting on could, conceivably, be frustrating. ¬†As it happened, no one threw their handle at us and no words of abuse were spoken loudly enough for us to hear. ¬†So in that regard at least, thank you to the members of Manukau. ¬†And more to the point, thank you for allowing us the pleasure of playing your fine track. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
By the 1st green UV levels were reaching 200 year highs and my nose ‚?? like Goldy‚??s ‚?? was turning into a big melanoma. ¬†A big brown brick itchy cancerous lump. ¬†So Bart seizing the initiative as he tends to do, went and asked a chap in the group behind whether he had sunscreen we could borrow / use. ¬†‚??No worries mate, go for your life.‚?Ě ¬†Y‚??er man‚??s act of hospitality really set the tone for the day. ¬†Somewhat dusty after spending the prior evening in the company of our ‚??friends‚?Ě we could have been forgiven (or could we?) for being less than entirely focused on absorbing the day at hand. ¬†But there and then we snapped to attention and set our minds to beating Manukau. ¬†And to making some new friends.
Bonnie holes like the 4th were a pleasant surprise. ¬†Pebble Beach meets Auckland. ¬†At 280m or so (down wind on this occasion) you‚??re drawn into Going For It. ¬†High draw along the shape of the dogleg, or straight bomb over the estuary hazard? ¬†For a snap hooker like me it was a no brainer, and so I swiftly ‚??drew‚?Ě one into the greenside bunker. ¬†The proper golfers among us hit pure 2 irons to the front edge. ¬†Except. ¬†From a downhill lie in the bunker I mistakenly hit a good shot that went in for an eagle 2 ‚?? and circa 320 birdie challenge dollars for The First Tee! ¬†Bart made birdie but a flustered Goldberg 3 putted for a disappointing par (as I had done on the par 5 2nd). ¬†Somewhat like a lamentable story of girls at university (boys, in Bart‚??s case): missed opportunities.
GB‚??s friend Will ‚?? who plies his trade in our old trade at DLA Philips Fox ‚?? joined us. ¬†And dazzled us with his wordsmithery. ¬†Words whose usage is reserved ordinarily only for Ivory Tower academics and Dougal Stevenson of Radio New Zealand, were leaping from Will‚??s tongue with lyrical majesty. ¬†The man is wasted on law. ¬†His poetry got me through the sort of acute frustration that derives from missed birdie opportunities. ¬†
On the 10th tee a heartwarming thing happened. ¬†The chaps in the group ahead shouted back that refreshments were on the house; we were just to inform the pro shop of our needs. ¬†No need for an 80 yard march though, no Sir. ¬†A young man by the name of Brad came tearing across in a cart that looked too big for his 12 year old frame. ¬†Brad asked us what colour of Powerade we would like, and whether we‚??d take a sandwich with our electrolytes (he didn‚??t put it exactly so). ¬†Tired, hot, delirious and thirsty ‚?? wee Brad looked to us like a passing ship must‚??ve looked to Tom Hanks stranded on that desert island in Castaway. ¬†Wilson was nowhere to be seen. ¬†Although Michael‚??s dishevelled orange-ing hair bore some resemblance to the red locks of the volleyball.
Throughout the back nine we continued to reflect on just what a good golf course Manukau really is. ¬†Conditioning‚??s perhaps not Kinloch-esque (I‚??m referring to the one in Virginia, not Taupo) ‚?? but to expect so would be unreasonable in the extreme. ¬†The holes, though, are fun and on the whole reward good shots. ¬†Which is to say that very little rewards were reaped. ¬†However, we had great fun and didn‚??t lose any balls: the litmus test for a successful golf outing in Nu Zillin.
As I said, the locals allowed us the grace of their attention for a few moments in the bar. ¬†I‚??ve never been comfortable with a microphone in hand, notwithstanding that I love to shoot my mouth off whenever possible. ¬†It was my ‚??turn‚?Ě given Michael‚??s stood up and delivered ‚??most all year. ¬†Without his eloquence or aptitude for endearing himself to other humans through ‚??the sad eyes‚?Ě, I resorted to self-deprecation and unbridled gratitude. ¬†As no one boo‚??d I consider the little talk a success (I set low standards and aspire always to exceed them). ¬†On a more serious note, the members were a hugely gracious bunch and welcomed us as their own. ¬†Out of a quick whip around came several hundred charitable dollars that‚??ll put a few kids through The First Tee‚??s golfership program. ¬†So well done Manukau ‚?? you‚??re a great lot and we from puregolf2010 hope your club manage to survive whatever challenges you face. ¬†Look forward to returning in a few years and seeing familiar faces. ¬†Next time I promise not to touch a microphone...
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