How on earth could our last game in Dallas have crept up on us so quickly? ¬†Yesterday we hacked it round Los Colinas then spent a couple of hours out at Colonial ‚?? and the day, before we knew it, was gone. ¬†Well, it was gone after another one of Phil T‚??s gourmet steaks, I should say. ¬†And one of Mel‚??s sumptuous cakes. ¬†Yes we‚??re spoiled.
Another Kiwi fulla (in fact, another Maori fulla - the other being Phil, not either of us obviously) joined us today. ¬†Jase is a mate of Phil‚??s from way back ‚?? they grew up playing together in Taupo ‚?? and has lived here for 11 years or so (married a Kiwi-American). ¬†He‚??s been a pro in his time, but now spends his days with a company that lays artificial greens (like the one Phil has in his backyard). ¬†Sounds like a good living, from what he was saying
The 4 of us boosted out to TPC Craig Ranch (as you might‚??ve guessed, a big ranch owned by the rather wealthy Craig family) on the outskirts of Dallas. ¬†It‚??s on the north side, where they‚??re banking the city will spread in the years to come (hence the outrageously huge hotel that probably doesn‚??t get filled every night...if you get my drift). ¬†¬†This time we travelled not in Dodgy, but in another Dodge, of a more recent vintage. ¬†It ‚??had balls‚?Ě as we would say back home ‚?? meaning there are a few horsepower under the hood. ¬†
Craig Ranch is quite unlike Los Colinas, in terms of its atmosphere. ¬†Where LC is urban, CR is rural ‚?? and obviously all the more peaceful for it. ¬†It‚??s also leased and by the TPC network, whereas LC is a license deal (which has various implications in terms of who staff are employed by; how they interact with you, etc). ¬†
The course itself is a bit of a brute, and plays really long if you‚??re not hitting your driver well (as I wasn‚??t). ¬†From the PGA Tour tees, the slope rating is 77.3 (par 72), if that gives you a hint. ¬†Being the masochistic monkeys we are ‚?? and given we were playing with a couple of pros ‚?? of course we had to take ‚??em on. ¬†Ha. ¬†All good fun.
To mix things up we also played a couple of formats new to Mick and me. ¬†First, we played an ‚??Atlanta scramble‚?Ě - whereby the 2 balls on the left take on the 2 balls on the right (from the tee). The scoring is complicated to explain in words, but I‚??ll give it a go: If A+B are on the left, and make a 3 and a 4; and C+D are on the right, and make a 5 and a 4; A+B score 34 and C+D score 45, meaning A+B each get 11 points for the hole, by taking their score away from C+D‚??s. ¬†Hopefully you get the picture. ¬†If someone on the winning team gets a birdie, the winning margin is doubled. ¬†In this case A+B would get 22 points each. ¬†Your partner often changes on each hole, unless everyone‚??s hitting the same tee shots every time! ¬†It‚??s a game in which you can get pulled along with a bit of luck, even if you‚??re not playing/scoring well yourself. ¬†I managed to be in second place at the turn, despite having the worst gross score by some margin. ¬†In the end I was 3rd and Mike 4th, which meant lunch was on us!
The second game we played ‚?? concurrently ‚?? was the zoo game. ¬†Jase had promised us in the car that we were in for a treat, but wouldn‚??t let on until we left the 1st tee block. ¬†The nerves... Then the stuffed animals came out. ¬†Camel for going in the bunker; killer whale for going in the hazard; snake for 3 putting; gorilla for lost ball (which never surfaced). ¬†The animals most often change hands throughout the round ‚?? always with a big smile from the donor. ¬†Real mind games going on. ¬†At the end, the person with the most animal usually shouts lunch, or ponies up with $100 or so. ¬†Adds extra colour to the day ‚?? a lot of fun.
In the sheds we had lunch and a much needed Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) or two. ¬†Our Kiwi banter was lost on the poor waitress, who didn‚??t quick pick up on our satirical quips. ¬†No matter. ¬†The club sandwich may just have been the biggest sandwich I‚??ve ever seen. ¬†When the waitress delivered mine, and asked straight away if we‚??d like anything else, I replied ‚??another one please‚?Ě - complete deadpan, she thought I was serious, and suggested I wait until I‚??ve finished the first one. ¬†Classic.
On the way out we came across these beasts ‚?? pictured below ‚?? being Texas Long Horn cattle. ¬†I‚??m sure their beef tastes just like the stuff back home (maybe not, actually), but their horns are something else. ¬†Very exotic.
All in all, another glorious day. ¬†Loved staying with Phil & Mel ‚?? they were amazing hosts ‚?? and meeting Jase, who was good for a laugh or six. ¬†Could definitely have spent another few days here, but the show must go on (and Phil has to head off to Washington to...well...play). ¬†Thanks guys, if you‚??re reading this ‚?? we really appreciated your hospitality, and look forward to seeing you in December back home. ¬†
Tonight we‚??re off to New Orleans, driving overnight and playing tomorrow lunchtime. ¬†Might have time to check out The French Quarter in the morning if all goes to plan.
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