It sure can rain up here on the Sunshine Coast. Judging by today anyway. It absolutely poured down overnight, and during our administration session this morning. The rain was so heavy I was about to call Noosa Springs Golf Course and see if they were under water. But the rain turns on and off like a tap and come 11am when we started turning our minds to the days golf, the skies had cleared and we headed the 20km north to Noosa Springs for day 109 of our journey.
We were joined by Brent & Andrew, two local lads who had heard about our voyage and thought they'd challenge us for a hit. Being both single figure markers, another epic Bledisloe Battle awaited us. But the Aussie lads started with nothing short of a lack of intent and thru five holes, the Kiwi Good Guys were up by 4! Without even making a birdie. Which speaks volumes for the quality of golf by the four of us.
Brent had made contact with me via our website and said he'd be keen as to join us for a hit. It's always great when we get people that we have not met contact us through the site to jack up a hit / accommodation etc. I'd say it is one of the best features of the trip and one that we definitely had not anticipated before we began. So, if you're keen to join us for a round then feel free to email Jamie or I and we'll see what we can do.
So back to Brent, a builder and top Aussie bloke who moved up here a few years back to escape the 'freezing cold' of South Australia who didn't get much sympathy from us South Islanders about the cold. Brent hadn't been playing golf that long, but he could fair whack it. And by whack it, I mean hit a stinging driver 300m with a draw. Probably one of the longest hitters I have seen in the flesh. For those who have played a round with us, he hit it at least 30m past both of our drives. Andy on the other hand hit it arrow straight. Banter was flying out on every tee as he knocked another drive flush and straight. Andy works at another one of the top courses in this area called Perigian Springs which is a private members course, and one that didn't feature in our planning but we hear it is a fine track.
Rewinding to our arrival at the club, Noosa Springs is the premier track in the greater area known as Noosa which is about two hours north of Brisbane and we were warmly greeted by an English gent in the proshop by the name of Robert. We used carts today, which probably added to the walking as it was so wet that we had to keep them on the cart paths at all times. There was some of the customary 'awful cart golf' played when Jamie or I sprayed it on the other side of the cart path.
The front nine had plenty of water, and come to think about it, so did the back nine! Hazards surrounding you is not an ideal scenario to face when you have been hitting the ball as poorly as I have the last couple of days. The greens had been scarified that morning so they were not rolling as well as they may have been, which made putting somewhat of a lottery.
At four down, Andy finally managed to two-putt a couple of holes and he had the Aussie's back in the game. The local's were used to battling the very strong par four 7th which dog-legged slightly left 410m or so and was flanked by water on the right and scrub (lost ball territory) on the left. Jamie and I were not, and had a combined +5 on the hole. It was Jamie's day for everything to go wrong with his golf, as it has done for me the last couple... (and thus I find myself writing the blog, I think for only the 4th day this month, despite continuing my swing woes).
The wind got up on the back nine, and Brent kicked into action with a stream of about 5 pars which was as good as any of us (solid 6 handicappers) managed each day. But the best-ball format made it tough for the Aussies to make a come-back and I think it was caps off and handshakes on about the 16th hole. Another bledisloe victory... My big bro, Henry, whom we are staying with, came out to support the Kiwis (or Aussies perhaps? Henry, despite being only 18 months older than me, considers himself a true-blue Aussie after spending his first 6, and most previous 6 years of his life in this country). Henry was our camera-man and took quite a few snaps. He considers himself a bit of a photographer so I'm looking forward to seeing how they come up on the Mac after I've written this.
The 17th hole was probably the signature hole, a dog-leg left around a lake where the green is protected entirely by water on the front and left. Of course bunkers flank the back of the green so you can't just bail out long. This hole is pleasant on the eye, but probably less kind on the score card. Into the wind today it was quite a test and Andy and I were happy to be sitting on the green in regulation. But that was as good as it got for me as I three putted, and subsequently halved the last couple of holes with JP so the skins carry over until tomorrow. From what I was told, the 17th used to have considerably more atmosphere when there was bush all behind the green, but this has all been cut out, and the 18th hole modified, to allow a new property development to be put on the course. Over a million ozzie dollars a section we were told... It's the way things are up here, with the golf courses serving the dual purpose of adding value to a huge block of land to enable the developers to cash in.
All in all, it was a good day of golf and the course was surprisingly dry considering the amount of rain that had fallen pre-round. Thanks to Noosa Springs for having us and the lads for coming out and making for another top day.
We're now off to check our emails, of which we're sending about 50 each a day at the moment to try and arrange parts of our US leg (including, crucially, getting some kind of car support to get us around in the US - if you have any ideas or suggestions let us know!). The media have also called and will be out tomorrow to take some pictures and run a story at Club Pelican. Can't wait.
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