This morning I awoke for the last time ‚?? this trip anyway ‚?? in the Melbourne region, and for the last time on Jirv‚??s wooden floor (something I‚??ll be less sad to farewell). ¬†To be fair Jirv did pull out the stops with an inflatable mattress, but by about midnight my weight was enough to deflate it to something resembling a punctured paddling pool. ¬†No matter. ¬†They say sleeping plane on a wooden floor is good for your back anyway, don‚??t they? ¬†Hasn‚??t done me any harm.
Day 86 took us again to 13th Beach, this time to play the younger Creek Course, which happens to be the fruit of Mr. Faldo‚??s maiden project in ‚??Straya. ¬†The course is entirely different in character to big brother The Beach Course (which we played yesterday), and probably caters more to mid/high handicap‚??ers that don‚??t like getting beaten up (by a golf course that is ‚?? no one likes getting beaten up). ¬†VC Brett ‚??Morry‚?Ě Morrison told us yesterday that they‚??d ran out of dough when laying the course, so we should try to imagine how it would look with another $2 million pumped into it. ¬†A dam sight better, I‚??d have to say; but then you could probably say that about a lot of places.
We had a fourball for the adventure, which is always ideal. ¬†Simon, the Area Pacific Product Manger for Taylor Made ‚?? who happens to hail from sunny Nelson in Aotearoa (that‚??s Niu Zillin to you ‚??Strayans) ‚?? came down from the city; Jirv‚??s mate from med school, Sam, also made the trip from Geelong. ¬†Jirv, as he did a couple of weeks ago at The National, was on cameraman & team spirit cultivation duties. ¬†So we had a 5 strong crew of Kiwis, representing a gathering that no doubt would‚??ve been illegal in Australia in years gone by.
Thankfully in the ball toss mine landed closest to Simon‚??s, yielding a formidable fourball pairing if ever there was one. ¬†Formidable in the sense that Simon is a good golfer and I‚??m adept in the art of Putting Off The Opposition. ¬†Simon‚??s off scratch. ¬†Last week he shot 3 under at Yarra Yarra. ¬†So the boy can play (and in his younger days he did, properly I mean). ¬†Goldy drew Sam, an 18 handicapper who had a propensity to make the odd bogey or even par ‚?? which makes things difficult when you‚??re giving the rascal 18 shots. ¬†
S&J (which sounds like the name of some sort of RTD beverage) got off to a flyer, to a lead of 7 up after 9 (courtesy of a good few birdies and indifferent golf from the opposition). ¬†Jirv made sure that we were kept entertained too, offering a blend of sharp witted commentary and God Awful Comedy between strokes. ¬†You‚??re always a bit nervous when introducing Jirv to new people for the first time ‚?? particularly if they‚??re a bit shy. ¬†Fortunately Si‚??s an easy going gentleman and partial to a bit of banter, so he was well at ease with Jirv‚??s chat. ¬†We all got on famously in fact.
The Creek Course is pretty mild. ¬†We found you can more or less swing with wild abandon off the tee (although there are a few spots you just can‚??t hit it) and the water hazards didn‚??t cause too many headaches (they all seemed to be 50 metres short of where they should be). ¬†Nor did the bunkers feature too prominently in our adventures, but I guess on another day they might have. ¬†A few of the holes got the pulse ramping up a few beats, but on the whole this was because you get excited about attacking a short par 4 or par 5 ‚?? rather than getting scared for your life as can happen on The Beach Course. ¬†
13 and 14 are short par 4s that have big pines plonked in the middle of the fairway guarding the green. ¬†13‚??s a bit longer ‚?? ¬†a good drive threading the needle leaves a sand wedge or thereabouts to a raised green. ¬†14, at about 280 metres, invites you to take driver over the pines and hopefully onto the putting surface. ¬†We all egged each other on and had a crack, which was the Right thing to do. ¬†Mike knocked it in the front greenside trap; Si the Big Girl That He Is feathered it up there about 10 short; and I‚??m pleased to report that I got closest of all, within a couple of feet of the green (Sam‚??s strong fade I‚??m afraid counted him out of the race). ¬†Good clean fun.
In my humble opinion The Creek Course doesn‚??t quite hit the mark ‚?? at least when you look at it next to The Beach Course. ¬†It‚??s a course that looks like ran out of money. ¬†That said there are a good few holes that can‚??t be described as anything but ‚??fun‚?Ě. ¬†I already mentioned 13 and 14; 4 (a strong par 4 with an amphitheatre green) and 9 (a well bunkered short par 4) also stick in the mind. ¬†18‚??s a strong finishing hole too, and is stroke 1 on the card ‚?? a cruel was to finish a tired round! ¬†Simon went round in par, and but for a triple on 16 and a tired bogey on 18 I would‚??ve done the same; Mike and Sam didn‚??t burn it up but looked to be enjoying themselves all the same.
The tragedy in all of this is that the club‚??s done away with one of the best relief spots this side of the 10th tee at Barwon Heads ‚?? which is a cracker of a spot to take a leak in private. ¬†(Soon we‚??ll be compiling a list ‚?? with photographic evidence ‚?? of the best on course spots to relieve oneself). ¬†Apparently the 5th tee on The Creek was once a gem. ¬†BUT. ¬†The Chairman‚??s house overlooks the tee and apparently he was getting very perturbed by all the folk unzipping and discharging urine into, well, his backyard. ¬†SO. ¬†He first took to firing an air horn warning shot; second, after the air horn failed to alter behaviour permanently, he used his position of influence to have the trees cut down around the tee. ¬†No one except the most bold of punters would dare relieve themselves there now. ¬†And what a shame that is (particularly because there aren‚??t many other spots on the course where a man whom has drunk too much water in an effort to keep his brain sharp while playing golf can unzip). ¬†Many of my fondest moments of relief have been on golf courses; there‚??s something therapeutic, even natural, about sharing one‚??s waste water with one‚??s golf course. ¬†But I digress.
13th Beach is a fantastic golf facility. ¬†The Beach Course is epic; The Creek Course is fun; and the place is filled with good humans. ¬†In a few years‚?? time ‚?? when the developer sells his last few shares, and the membership reaches a threshold of 1500 ‚?? the doors will be closed to the public and 13th Beach (or at least The Beach Course?) will become private. ¬†Therefore. ¬†If you want my advice, get in quick and play it while you can. ¬†Ben & co will welcome you with open arms (they were tremendous hosts to us) and you‚??ll have a Quality Golfing Experience. ¬†Order a steak sandwich when you finish too ‚?? sumptuous. ¬†(Si, being the incredible generous chap that he is, shouted me one). ¬†
Oh the match finished 7&5, despite a couple of birdies from Goldberger. ¬†JP took out the stats match 3-zip, leapfrogging MG by 0.5 of a point with a few days to go. ¬†What a climax it promises to be. ¬†Tomorrow at Port Fairy the wind might separate the men from the boys, or the wheat from the chaff ‚?? however you care to frame it (I prefer calling Goldy chaff, so I‚??ll go with that).
Thanks to 13th Beach for hosting us over the past couple of days ‚?? we‚??ve had a ball. ¬†Thanks to Si for joining us, for lunch and for the stash of balls & gloves! ¬†Thanks to Sam for the post match pint, and thanks to Jirv for giving me a back ache. ¬†
Off we go into the wop wops...puregolf2010 is South Australia bound.
JP ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
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