Before I share with you the trials and tribulations of day 182 of puregolf2010 I would like to dedicate this blog to the late Bert Irwin.¬† Bert, like us, and probably all of you who tune in to read this blog shared a timeless love of the game of golf and played a handy game right through his 80‚??s until he has now made it to the 19th hole.¬† Mike Irwin, Bert‚??s son, is a good family friend who has joined in the puregolf journey during a number of days in Australia.¬† Mike and Bert are one of those great father/son golfing duo‚??s - that many of us can relate to and it is with much sadness that Bert‚??s days golfing are over.¬† My thoughts are with Lucy and the Irwin family.
Our 16 hours in NYC is reserved for another instalment but it is fair to say that our time in the city were part of the fabric of day 182. ¬†This is because we had minimal sleep and by minimal I mean: a few minutes on a roof (until I thought ‚??too dodgy‚??), a couple of minutes in Dunkin Donuts (but for the fact that I needed to buy something ‚?? a coffee? and fell asleep mid-sip once or twice), a church and of course central park.¬† I think all such venues for my lodging returned a total of about 30 minutes sleep. ¬†JP may have been closer to the hour mark. Whatever the case, we were tired.
And so we met our host for the day John Miller at his firm in the city, Lenox Advisors, where we were ushered through some offices to a more proper looking office on the perimeter of the office complex where John and his business partner Paul sat and listened to the short version of our story.¬† Or what we could comprehensibly share of it after wandering around like lost souls through NYC.
Actually rewind. Just before we went to see John we did something golf-related in the city. Walking down 5th avenue I saw the Trump building so I thought bugger it lets go and see if we can light some candles with Mr Trump. ¬†I managed to get as far as the elevator, from where I rang Trump Golf and spoke to a lovely young lady who even came down and was entertained by our story for a few minutes before she left, puregolf2010 card in hand, hopefully to ask the big man for a game on the final day of our US leg. ¬†I think it‚??s likely that the card will soon be shredded and recycled into a milk container, but you never know (he says from the confines of the van in a parking lot on the fair tip of long island which doesn‚??t seem too safe).
Ok, so back to Mr John Miller. Enthusiastic guy. But first he introduced us to our first ever yellow NYC cab when he hailed a cab from the far lane of a busy NYC road and we watched wide eyed as the road turned into a moving yellow orchestra as the cars all honked and screeched as our man crossed three lanes to pick us up. Brilliant.¬†
John himself is a hugely energetic guy and he has to be because he and his wife Nancy have 11 children. That‚??s right 11! They range in ages from the late 20‚??s (who is a member of the military) to the twins who are 11.¬† When we got to Plainfield, bags out on the first tee we were introduced to our two caddies today ‚?? Joe and Paul ‚?? both of whom were sons of John.¬† John and Nancy are both fit as a fiddle and it definitely showed in John‚??s power game on the golf course. There were even a couple of bicep flexes mid round after another drive was bombed. John was one 50 something I did not feel guilty about dragging back to the tips.
Where was dodgy amongst all this I hear you asking? It was with Rory Corrigan who kindly drove Dodgy from his place (which I know he loved although he‚??ll only tell you he was petrified) to meet us before golf and join us for a bite for lunch.¬† One day on and Rory is still a Grade A human. I think if he lived in NZ he would be knighted as we still have such titles in our colonised society.¬† What made today‚??s hour or so with Rory even more special was that this day was his 60th birthday ‚?? happy birthday Rory!
Plainfield Golf Club
Ok, so I‚??ve just got off the phone with a mate of mine who thought it is coming across like we‚??re taking some of these courses for granted. Well, Plainfield is one such course I could have taken for granted after a distinct lack of sleep but I can tell you it is a Magic course that I absolutely loved.¬† Described as Donald Ross on steroids, it is almost like Mr Ross had a moment with this course to contemplate the impacts that technology may have on the game in the coming generations and stretched the course out to 7200 yards but kept the traditional Ross charactestics flowing through it. So there were crazy sloping green complexes, there were coffin bunkers lining the fairways and there were greens which looked big but in actual fact played incredibly small because of all the roll offs.
Take for example the 11th hole where I caught the false front and watched as my ball rolled 20 yards back into the bunker. A cracker of a par three (which incidentally has not changed at all from the original design which I saw in old black and white photographs in the clubhouse).
I think that one thing helping us to appreciate the courses more and more is that our golf is improving. For example on this sleep deprived day (off the tips like always) JP and I shot +4 and +2 respectively. And that was with a fair few bogeys coming down the stretch perhaps as some fatigue hit us.¬† I use the fatigue ‚??excuse‚?? because we had managed to negotiate through what I‚??d call the purists stretch of this course from 11 through to 14. A short par three 11, the par five 12th which Paul and the greens committee are building ‚??nipples of fescue‚?? into, the dastardly par four 13th around trees and over a small lake which is the toughest hole on the course and which John should have birdied but for his inept putt from 6 feet, and then the 220 yard par 3 14th over water amongst ‚??dead air in the corner of the course‚??.¬†
And of course what also kept us going with our staunchly contested match where myself and John Miller teamed up to show JP and his man Paul Zoydos. Paul was another good chap (they come thick and fast in this wide world of golf) and he has a guiding hand in the operations of Plainfield GC.¬† He shared with us what the club is trying to achieve with the course and the progress the course has made with various modifications. Oh and John would be devastated if I didn't share the result which resoundingly went in our favour.. Thanks partner!
One huge modification is that Plainfield used to be tree lined but they‚??ve taken a chainsaw to 1500 of the things to leave the rolling terrain more open to the elements. Now long fescue grass is one of the main hazards to contend with, along with Mr Ross‚?? bunkers and greens of course. Actually there is also a fair bit of water in play here too. Whilst the trees are now more lonely, they still catch their fair share of golf balls.
The PGA Tour have picked up the class of this track and it is going to host a tour event next year ‚?? the Barclays, which Paul is currently busy busy trying to help to coordinate. So in a years time, the 18th pictured above will be surrounded by corporate tents and home to a very festive atmosphere.
A couple more holes before I sign out: The short par four 4th hole a great hole that doglegs left uphill. An example of the significant undulations coming into play on the course and allowing Mr Ross to dictate where you‚??ll be hitting your approach from.¬† There are often down slopes on the fairway at, say, 180 yards from the tee meaning you‚??re 190 yard hitter will now go 210 yards. But similarly there are many slopes at¬† 250/260 yards which if you don‚??t get the ball up will roll your ball back so you don‚??t get such an advantage. Smart stuff.
I could go on and on about Plainfield as it makes you think.¬† But I will call it quite there. But for to put a huge thanks out to John Miller for making the day.¬† The type of guy I‚??d like to surround myself with ‚?? fun, passionate, loves golf, and you might have guess, a great family man. Like Bert.
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