Day 89 was a morning of admin tasks before we tripped across the easy going town of Adelaide to Glenelg for our 1pm tee time.
We bowled up to the pro shop, told our story and were introduced to two of the clubs pennant players, Luke and Matt who would be joining us for the round along with the trainee pro, Adrian. Yes, another 5 ball! Matt was a little quiet due to having an issue on the roads getting to the golf course this morning, but nevertheless the lads were a friendly bunch and the day was primed for some good golf.
Glenelg is, from what I understand, the only course that has reciprocal rights with both Miramar and Clearwater (Jamie and my home courses respectively) and in this respect it is very unique. It is a quality track to have reciprocal rights with as well and any members back home who are visiting this area should come out for a hit. It is manicured - probably the best conditioned fairways we have played for many days even weeks, the greens rolled true and with some speed (finally), and the holes make you really think.
The five of us enjoyed some good banter on the way around hearing about Glenelg and it's strong social culture and life in Adelaide. Luke is a local policeman, and a pretty handy 4 handicapper. He laid out the rules on the first - any 4 putts, any putts that roll off the green and any mishits that don't make it to the ladies tees result in a jug. I was a bit apprehensive about putting off the green after my efforts the last few days! A jug was also on the line if 3 guys in the group made birdie on a single hole, by the schmuck(s) who didn't make birdie of course.
After starting on the 10th, our third hole today was a reel birdie opportunity and it was only the sympathetic putting of Adrian missing a 10 footer that spared Jamie and I the first round. This 12th hole is a short dogleg left par five, but has a newly redesigned green with a great swale on the left and bunker short right and a green that funnels to the back right. A very difficult green to hit with a long iron or fairway wood as it slopes away from you.
The back nine at Glenelg requires placement and strategy with a few dogleg par fours and 3 short holes. A unique feature was plenty of trouble behind the green which is something I have to take note of as I am prone to airmailing the green. The 16th is a case in point with water long and right, but just to make life more difficult there is a sharp drop off the left side of the green which leaves a delicate pitch up the bank to the hole. Of course, being Wedge Shy I putted from in this swale and was only good enough to make 4 (Jamie made 4 with one in the water which is a top effort).
The 17th was an immensely strong par 4 that snaked around to the left. Matt crashed his drive right and actually flew a hazard over that way to be on the other fairway. I topped my 2 iron, into my golf bag - for a two shot penalty. Triple bogey. The camera came out on the 18th and the boys had some indifferent reactions to the pressure! The 18th tee shot is one of the toughest driving holes going around (something it shares in common with the 18th at Clearwater) with water right and trees, bunkers and waste to the left. The clubhouse stands tall to the right and, we were told, the lads sit up there watching guys play the last having a few wagers on whether their fellow members will hit the fairway or green, or sink a putt.
I battled a block slice today which is one of the more uglier shots to battle. As Michael Campbell would say it was as if aliens had got into my body and were making me do crazy things. I was so wide I struggled to hit it on even the next fairway! And it was relentless, even a 60m pitch was "cutting" 10m. Somewhere around the 5th hole (our 14th) it came right and I stormed home hitting 5/6 greens to tie up the GIR match. A cheeky birdie also gave me a fairway bonus to tie that match up as well. Crucial. 2/1 for the day and the monthly competition is still alive (just) going into the last day of March.
But the story of the last few holes is one of the lads generosity to the First Tee NZ. Adrian and Luke put some Aussie dollars on the line and Jamie and my golf came right at the perfect time - when set the challenge of both making par on the 6th (a 430m par four into the wind) we both felt the pressure from Pip King and the team at the First Tee to deliver. I have documented our efforts in the video below!
But before I move on, the lads we played with today were superb. They clearly enjoyed their golf, were pretty handy golfers and set the bar at a high level which always helps. Judging by our round today, Glenelg must be a pretty fun place to play your golf. The stander set by these three lads reflected in our scores as well when we chopped it around and still both ended with 81's. Again the generosity of the chaps was awesome and before we could leave they gave us a few golf balls mainly as they were so unimpressed with the manky prov1X I was using.
After the round we went into the clubhouse and met up with Gavin - a local chap who had, on Sunday, taken out the famous SAMC which is a stroke round off the tips played between a group of 30 or so regulars (actually the tiger tees / tips are known as the blocks at Glenelg). The entry fee goes towards fine wine and good food so it is a festive day from all accounts, but Gav was still beaming after his overall victory and taking his fair share of the spoils - this comp is so prestigious it even has a master'esque jacket for the winner which, the story goes, Gav slept in (after a few beers) on Sundsy night.
After golf it was back to the city and our hosts Blair and Kate who have very kindly put us up. Great company, great food (an Aussie BBQ - cooked by kiwi's) and great SA wine - doesn't get any better than this!
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